Kirsten Gillibrand takes major step toward White House run

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has taken a major step toward announcing a presidential bid, saying she is launching an exploratory committee for a White House run.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks to supporters during an election night watch party hosted by the New York State Democratic Committee, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in New York, after being re-elected. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The 52-year-old New York Democrat said Tuesday on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert": "It's an important first step and it's one I am taking because I am going to run."

Gillibrand joins what is expected to be a crowded primary field for the Democratic nomination that could include more than a dozen candidates. Already, Gillibrand has plans to travel to the leadoff caucus state of Iowa later this week.

She also has more than $10.5 million left over from her 2018 re-election campaign that she can use toward a presidential run.