One rite of presidential elections is already starting up again: A candidate whose name keeps being mentioned feels compelled to deny any White House ambitions. In this case, it's Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand of New York, who on Sunday sought to shoot down rumors that she's running in 2020. “No, I am running for Senate. I’m running for Senate in 2018,” Gillibrand told radio host John Catsimatidis when he asked about the speculation. The Hill points out that her response is par for the course for would-be candidates, particularly when they face a re-election prior to the presidential race.
A newspaper in the region she represents, the Daily Gazette, pointed out last month that Gillibrand's name had been cropping up regularly on short lists of early Democratic contenders. In an election that could be a referendum on President Trump, she is the only senator to have voted against eight of his nominees and the only one who voted against James Mattis for defense secretary. A Skidmore College professor says the 50-year-old would be a strong candidate: "I think she would be very attractive to suburban, white, middle class voters, and she has a real soccer mom, clean persona." (One columnist thinks Al Franken is worth a serious look.)