Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s bid for president lasted less than a year and failed to get her in the middle tier of candidates or the all-important September debate stage. Supporters gave her more than $5 million to fund that result.
That’s not including the $10 million the New York Democrat transferred from her senate committee to her presidential one this year.
And it wasn’t enough to help Gillibrand catch fire despite spending heavily on advertising in search of the small donors needed for debate qualifications, part of nearly $7 million in total spending.
The numbers weren’t there, but plenty of large donors were coaxed to pitch in.
Donors who gave the maximum $2,800 to Gillibrand’s failed presidential primary effort include celebrities like Anna Wintour and Shonda Rimes.
Other New York power players did the same, from real estate titans like Douglas Durst and Jed Walentas to businessman George Tsunis, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and his husband, activist and former congressional candidate, Sean Eldridge.
Then there were the scores of lawyers and financial pros and others who parted with thousands.
There won’t be a 2020 return on that investment, though Gillibrand returns home with other elections ahead of her — and plenty of time to plot a way forward before she has to think about defending her Senate seat in 2024, whether that’s against liberal upstarts or upwardly mobile political veterans or just another Republican.
Surely, there will be more fundraising.
Mark Chiusano is a member of Newsday's editorial board.