Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has sought to position herself as a leader on abortion rights among 2020 hopefuls. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

2020 elections

Booker campaign official urges donations for Gillibrand to ensure debate spot

Sen. Cory Booker's deputy presidential campaign manager announced on Twitter on Wednesday night that she donated to the campaign of 2020 candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, urging others to do the same to ensure Gillibrand qualifies for next month's Democratic primary debate.

"I just donated to ensure @SenGillibrand’s important perspective is on the debate stage. Join me!" Jenna Lowenstein, Booker's deputy campaign manager, wrote on Twitter.

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The show of support between opponents comes after from the enactment of a law in Alabama on Wednesday that effectively outlawed abortion in the state. Gov. Kay Ivey signed the legislation, which is certain to face a slew of legal challenges and was crafted to serve as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that codified abortion rights nationwide. The 2020 Democratic candidates were quick to condemn the bill, with Gillibrand leading the pack.

The New York senator has sought to position herself as a leader on the issue among 2020 hopefuls. Earlier this month, she announced that as president, she would impose a litmus test on all judicial nominees, appointing only those who would uphold Roe. She will travel to Georgia Thursday to hold roundtables on that state’s recently passed abortion bill, which would ban the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — before most women know they’re pregnant.

On Wednesday, Gillibrand assailed the Alabama law as an ”attack on women's basic human rights and civil rights” and pledged to “fight like hell” to protect reproductive rights.

But, Gillibrand's campaign manager wrote on Twitter Wednesday night, “it is not a given that abortion will come up at the 2020 primary debates."

"It is not a given that every candidate will defend reproductive rights as fiercely as @SenGillibrand. We need her on that stage. If you agree, make sure her spot is guaranteed,” Lowenstein continued, soliciting donations to the senator's presidential campaign.

The scramble to entice donors is the result of new rules the Democratic National Committee unveiled this year that put an emphasis on grassroots fundraising. Candidates now have two paths to reach the stage for next month’s debates: Breaking 1 percent in three polls from pollsters approved by the DNC or tallying 65,000 unique campaign donors, with at least 200 donors in 20 different states.

But with 23 major candidates in the race as of Thursday and only 20 spots on the debate stage, the DNC’s tiebreaker will first prioritize candidates who have met both the polling and donor thresholds, something Gillibrand has not publicly announced she’s done, unlike Booker.

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