Chelsea Clinton won’t be following in her parents’ political footsteps just yet.
Clinton, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, said on Wednesday that she was not running for Congress next year, ending brief but intense speculation that she would seek to extend her family’s political dynasty.
In an interview on “The View,” Chelsea Clinton said she was “not considering” a bid to replace Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, a fellow Democrat who said last week that she would not seek reelection in 2020.
Clinton, the daughter of a president and a U.S. senator, had never explicitly expressed interest in the seat, but she said in an interview last year that she would weigh running for office “if someone were to step down or retire.” After Lowey’s announcement, the idea of Clinton entering the race seemed a viable possibility, because Lowey represents much of Westchester and Rockland counties, north of New York City, where Clinton’s parents live and where the Clintons remain popular.
Clinton herself does not live in the district, but under the U.S. Constitution, a member of Congress must live only in the state they seek to represent, not the specific district.
For days, representatives for Clinton did not answer questions about the former first daughter’s plans, further fueling speculation. Her remarks on Wednesday were her first comments on the topic.
Clinton’s pronouncement clearly disappointed some audience members on the television program. When one of the show’s hosts, Whoopi Goldberg, asked whether Clinton would run, the studio broke out in applause. When Clinton said no, one host exclaimed, “No! Why not?”
Clinton said she understood the interest.
“Someone has asked me some version of this question for literally as long as I can remember,” she said.
“Abby’s nodding,” she added, referring to Abby Huntsman, another co-host, whose father, Jon Huntsman Jr., served as the Republican governor of Utah and the ambassador to Russia under President Donald Trump.
But, she continued, “I think it’s a question that shouldn’t just be asked of someone whose last name is Clinton or Huntsman. It’s a question we should be asking kids: ‘Do you think about running for office one day?’ Young people, women.”
Clinton also noted that she had recently given birth to her third child.
Her announcement likely came as a relief to the other candidates vying to replace Lowey, who was first elected in 1988, and who rose to become the first woman to lead the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
They include Mondaire Jones, a lawyer who had declared a primary challenge to Lowey before she announced her retirement, and Assemblyman David Buchwald, a four-term Democrat who entered the race after Lowey’s announcement. State Sen. David Carlucci has also expressed interest.
On the Republican side, Rob Astorino, a former candidate for governor, is also said to be considering a bid. The district is considered safely Democratic, but Astorino spent eight years as county executive of Westchester.
In the days before Clinton broke her silence on Wednesday, the possibility of another Clinton candidacy had inspired a full gamut of reaction, from excitement to revulsion.
Even on “The View,” the co-hosts responded differently. While one host, Sunny Hostin, seemed crestfallen, another, Meghan McCain — the daughter of the former Republican senator and presidential candidate John McCain — had a milder reaction. “There’s some disappointed people in the audience,” she said, “but it’s OK.”
But in closing the door on a run for office next year, Clinton did not entirely rule out a future one.
“One day you might,” Huntsman said.
“Maybe,” Clinton replied. “Maybe. But not now.”
Editor’s Note: Abby Huntsman is the niece of Paul Huntsman, The Salt Lake Tribune’s owner and publisher.