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March 24, 2019

New York lawmakers quickly endorse Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 bid, leaving Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the cold

March 14, 2019
Beto O’Rourke laughs during a live interview with Oprah Winfrey on a Times Square stage at “SuperSoul Conversations” last month. (Kathy Willens / AP)

Beto O’Rourke may be from Texas, but he’s quickly courting 2020 support from prominent New Yorkers — over one of their own.

O’Rourke announced his bid for President early Thursday and — hours later — Empire State Reps. Sean Maloney and Kathleen Rice endorsed him.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who announced her 2020 campaign two months ago, remains without a single endorsement from the New York congressional delegation.

Maloney, who represents Orange, Putnam, Dutchess and Westchester Counties, issued a heartfelt endorsement statement, in which he recalled jogging with O’Rourke on the Washington Mall while the Texas Democrat was still representing the Lone Star State’s 16th district in the House.

“Through many long conversations, and during our years together in the House, I grew to know and love him and his family,” Maloney said. “He has a heart the size of Texas, real experience, and a vision of that strong, united and youthful America that once led the world — and that can again inspire and motivate millions.”

Rice, meanwhile, said she was “proud” to endorse her “friend” O’Rourke.

“He’s honest, authentic and has the courage of his convictions and a bold vision for our future,” tweeted Rice, who represents Long Island’s Nassau County.

O’Rourke, who nearly unseated Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in deep red Texas in the last midterms, is widely considered a top contender for the Democratic ticket and barreled into the already crowded 2020 primary field with a promise to run “a positive campaign.”

“This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us,” O’Rourke said in an announcement video, sitting on a couch next to his wife. “This moment of peril produces perhaps the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it.”

Gillibrand, meanwhile, has struggled to gain momentum with her 2020 campaign.

She announced her bid on Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” on Jan. 15 and has already traveled to early primary states like New Hampshire and Iowa.

But she hasn’t managed to court much national attention and no New York support.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, another member of the New York congressional delegation, came right out the gate last month and told the Daily News she doesn’t think Gillibrand can win against President Trump.

“I’m not supporting her because I feel, at this point, I feel that we have to win Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin,” Maloney said on Feb. 6.

A Democratic congressional source was more blunt Thursday in light of the snubs from Rice and Sean Maloney.

“No one takes her seriously,” the source said. “I can’t think of anyone in the New York delegation who would support her or see a benefit of supporting her.”

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Spokespeople for Gillibrand’s campaign did not return requests for comment.

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