Cam­paign’s HQ may be Frear site

Gil­li­brand may re­veal plans in Fe­bru­ary

Albany Times Union - - FRONT PAGE - By Ken­neth C. Crowe II

If U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand an­nounces a 2020 run for pres­i­dent, she will likely be op­er­at­ing her cam­paign down­town from the Frear Build­ing at 2 Third Street.

Cam­paign rep­re­sen­ta­tives signed a lease for the Suite 200on­the sec­ond f loor over­look­ing Third Street, which most re­cently housed North­west Mu­tual’s of­fices, said Demo­cratic sources who were in­formed about the trans­ac­tion. The cam­paign is tak­ing 4,000- to 5,000-square feet of space.

While Gil­li­brand, an Albany na­tive who now lives in Brunswick, has yet to an­nounce her can­di­dacy, she has been mov­ing ag­gres­sively to­ward an ex­pected pres­i­den­tial bid. In ad­di­tion to hom­ing in on an ap­par­ent cam­paign head­quar­ters, she is also fill­ing out key staff po­si­tions, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions.

The New York Demo­crat is con­sid­er­ing a Fe­bru­ary an­nounce­ment, ac­cord­ing to one per­son fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions, who cau­tioned that the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down could have an im­pact on the tim­ing.

Gil­li­brand is re­cruit­ing Mered­ith Kelly, the for­mer spokes­woman for the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, to head her com­mu­ni­ca­tions ef­forts, ac­cord­ing to the source. Alexan­dria Phillips, Gil­li­brand’s con­gres­sional press sec­re­tary and a for­mer Hil­lary Clin­ton aide, and Jess Fassler, who served as Gil­li­brand’s Se­nate chief of staff, will also join the cam­paign, the source said.

Dan Mc­nally, a vet­eran Demo­cratic op­er­a­tive who man­aged Colorado Sen. Michael Ben­net’s cam­paign in 2016, will also come on board.

If Gil­li­brand en­ters the race for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, she will join a field that could draw dozens of can­di­dates, in­clud­ing many of her Se­nate col­leagues. Mas­sachusetts Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren has al­ready formed an ex­ploratory com­mit­tee and is set­ting up trips across early pri­mary states. Cal­i­for­nia Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris, New Jer­sey Sen. Cory Booker and Ver­mont Sen. Bernie San­ders are all weigh­ing their own bids and are ex­pected to an­nounce de­ci­sions in the up­com­ing weeks.

Ex­cite­ment is build­ing lo­cally in an­tic­i­pa­tion of Gil­li­brand’s an­nounce­ment.

“There’s been a lot of pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates who stumped in Troy. The fact that she lives here in Rens­se­laer County and she (may be) run­ning for a na­tional of­fice is huge. It’s a big deal,” said Kathy Shee­han, his­to­rian for Rens­se­laer County and the city of Troy.

“It’s an in­cred­i­ble thing that puts Troy and Rens­se­laer County on the map,” Shee­han said.

While con­tenders have cam­paigned in the Col­lar City, Shee­han said this would be the first time a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date’s head­quar­ters was lo­cated in Rens­se­laer County.

Past pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates who have cam­paigned in Troy in­clude Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­hower, Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy, Pres­i­dent Richard M. Nixon, U.S. Sen. Robert J. Kennedy and Sen. Clin­ton, Shee­han said. One county away is Kin­der­hook, the home of the eighth Amer­i­can pres­i­dent, Martin Van Buren.

The Frear Depart­ment Store was a cor­ner­stone of eco­nomic life in Troy for gen­er­a­tions. The store shut down in the mid1960s. Since then its be­come a site for of­fices and re­tail space. It is owned by de­vel­oper David Bryce, an ar­chi­tect.


John Carl d’an­ni­bale / times union archive

this is the side of the frear Build­ing in troy that faces third Street, the pos­si­ble epi­cen­ter for u.s. Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, some democrats are say­ing. many pres­i­den­tial con­tenders have cam­paigned in the city over the years, but de­spite its his­toric lin­eage, it hasn’t ever hosted a head­quar­ters here.

Paul Buck­owski / times union

Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand pre­pares to vote in Brunswick last fall. the demo­crat may be among dozens of democrats run­ning for pres­i­dent.

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