Campaigning in New Hampshire, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told voters how in 2006, she was told she would never win the House seat in her Republican-leaning upstate New York district.
She went on to win that seat. More than a decade later, in her 2018 re-election to the U.S. Senate, she won back 18 counties carried by Donald Trump in the previous presidential race.
"If you want somebody who will fight for you and who can get elected and win places like Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania and Ohio, I'm the best candidate to do that. And I'm the best candidate to beat Trump," Gillibrand said.
She is doing all the right things in New Hampshire. She comes often — this is her sixth trip — and she does the kind of retail politicking that voters here have come to expect.
Still, the latest New Hampshire poll shows her at less than 1%.
"I think it's really early," she said. "It's obviously a marathon, not a sprint."
Asked if she thinks Joe Biden's 20 point lead is about his name recognition, Gillibrand responded immediately with a "Yes."
How does she hope to overcome that?
"By building up my own name recognition, which means just coming to New Hampshire over and over and talking to voters," she said.
Gillibrand has read reports of bias in the treatment of male candidates compared to female candidates on the campaign trail, but she is not dwelling on it.
"At the end of the day, I have to overcome it anyway, so if it exists, it exists," she said.
Gillibrand has met the polling requirement to get on the Democratic debate stage, but not the individual donor threshold, which could put her at risk of not being one of the 20 participants. She says she’s confident she will get there.