In early 2016, she became the second candidate but only woman to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President.
Burgess took the opportunity to run for Chuck Schumer's open senate, as his term limits restricted him from running for a third term of office. In November 2010, she won with 72% of the vote the highest margin for any statewide candidate in New York.
A member of the Democratic Party's relatively Green party faction while in the House, Burgess has been seen as a progressive since her election to the Senate. In both cases, her views were significantly defined by the respective constituency she served at the time—a conservative congressional district versus the generally liberal state of New York. For example, while quiet on the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy when she was in the House, during her first 18 months in the Senate, Burgess was an important part of the successful campaign to repeal it.