In a memo to supporters on Sunday obtained by The Washington Post, Gillibrand’s campaign said there was “no question” that its fundraising in the first quarter “was adversely impacted by certain establishment donors — and many online — who continue to punish Kirsten for standing up for her values and for women.”
Gillibrand was the first senator to call for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations in 2017, and several top Democratic donors, including George Soros and Susie Tompkins Buell, have openly criticized her over the move.
Gillibrand defended her handling of the matter at an MSNBC town hall last month. “If there are a few Democratic powerful donors who are angry because I stood up for women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, that’s on them,” she said.
More than 90 percent of the contributions Gillibrand received in the first quarter were under $200, her campaign said, and nearly two-thirds of her donors in the first quarter were women.
Gillibrand formally launched her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination last month.
In the money race among the Democratic hopefuls, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leads with $18.2 million raised in the first quarter of the year and a total of $28 million in his campaign account. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) raised $12 million in the same period, while former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) raised $9.4 million.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who formally launches his campaign Sunday afternoon, raised $7 million. And Gillibrand’s fellow Senate Democrats Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) have raised $6 million, $5.2 million and $5 million, respectively.
In its memo to supporters, Gillibrand’s campaign also played down early polling suggesting that the New York Democrat is struggling to gain traction.
“Based on qualifying polls, Kirsten will be on the debate stage for the first two debates, which is the earliest that most primary voters will start tuning into the nominating contest,” the memo reads.