Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D., N.Y.) former staffers questioned her presidential campaign, saying her candidacy is unrealistic if she does not qualify for the next debate.
"I think she'll have to seriously evaluate her campaign and her candidacy if she doesn't make this debate," one former senior staffer told the New York Post.
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Gillibrand qualified for the first two presidential debates but has struggled to capture the attention of voters.
"I don't know that anyone even wants to see her on the debate stage. Everyone I have talked to finds her performative and obnoxious," the former staffer said. "She comes across as an opportunist to the public. I think that's the biggest problem."
"It would be best if she decided that this was not her time," one Gillibrand fundraiser said, noting that her constituents support her remaining in her current Senate seat.
In the second debate, Gillibrand had the spotlight when she questioned former vice president Joe Biden on an op-ed he wrote for the Daily Times in 1981 titled, "Congress is subsidizing deterioration of family." Gillibrand asked Biden to explain, "how does a mom working lead to the deterioration of the family?"
The exchange failed to win sympathy for Gillibrand. "At a certain point, Gillibrand would not let her question drop, [she] kept repeating the same lines, and it began to feel a bit disingenuous," a Washington Post reporter said.
She also appeared unprepared when moderator Don Lemon asked her to respond to Biden on immigration policy and former president Barack Obama's deportation record.
Gillibrand appeared surprised that she had been asked to respond. She replied "um" and hesitated before highlighting President Tump and the need to change the future.
"Again, um, President Trump, under his administration, seven children died in his custody. Under his administration families have been torn apart," she said. "This party is talking about real ideas for the future. We're talking about what we will to change the future."
"She's not going to make it," a longtime Gillibrand supporter said. "What is Kirsten's reason to stay in?"
Gillibrand recently shared she would consider a run as vice president.
"The problem facing Gillibrand is, poll numbers at this stage of a presidential primary have never been more relevant to the outcome," Politico Magazine‘s Tim Alberta said. "And if she doesn't do something drastic to improve hers, she won't be around a year from now."
Time is running out to qualify for the next round of debates. Democratic candidates need to register two percent in at least four DNC approved polls and campaign contributions from 130,000 unique donors by Aug. 28. According to Gillibrand's campaign website, she needs 15,000 more unique donations in order to qualify for the next debate. She also needs three more qualifying polls. The next debate will be held Sept. 12, sponsored by ABC News and Univision with Jorge Ramos as one of the moderators.