Beer pong 2020: Will Gillibrand’s cool campaign pay off?
Her first shot landed short and her teammate’s bounced away. But Kirsten Gillibrand’s second ping pong ball splashed home and she threw both arms skyward while her opponents chugged, celebrating a beer pong victory in the most presidential way possible.
The scene on a rainy Friday night in a bar in Nashua, New Hampshire’s second-largest city, follows a pattern for the 52-year-old New York senator. She’s trailed better-known rivals in the packed Democratic 2020 presidential field in polling and fundraising, but she’s making a case for being the coolest candidate in the race.
Driving between New Hampshire events in February, she stopped to go sledding. She’s played foosball and baked cookies, arm wrestled and hung out with drag queens at an Iowa bar some call “Gay Cheers.”
Other candidates have also sought humanizing moments. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker played Pac Man at a New Hampshire video arcade, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren danced her way through the 2017 gay pride parade in Boston and, while visiting South Carolina in February, Sen. Kamala Harris of California was goaded into trying on, and eventually buying, a multicolored, sequined jacket.
“I’m aware it probably comes across as a gimmick, but in real life it came across as genuine,” said Shaye Weldon, Gillibrand’s beer pong teammate.