January 22, 2009
POLITICS: A Dissenting Note on Gillibrand
I spoke too soon below in saying Kirsten Gillibrand was the non-nepotism choice for the NY Senate seat:
Gillibrand's father, Doug Rutnik, is an Albany insider and lobbyist whose ties to former GOP powerhouses Joe Bruno, George Pataki and Al D'Amato are legendary. In fact, Gillibrand won her seat when a state police domestic violence report about the GOP incumbent, John Sweeney, was mysteriously leaked, ostensibly with the acquiescence of the Pataki administration, which had its own reasons to oppose Sweeney.
Wayne Barrett also looks at where Gillibrand's voting record has diverged from her own party (his commenters are already hopping as well on Gillibrand's opposition to same-sex marriage):
Gillibrand has described her own voting record as "one of the most conservative in the state." She opposes any path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, supports renewing the Bush tax cuts for individuals earning up to $1 million annually, and voted for the Bush-backed FISA bill that permits wiretapping of international calls. She was one of four Democratic freshmen in the country, and the only Democrat in the New York delegation, to vote for the Bush administration's bill to extend funding for the Iraq war shortly after she entered congress in 2007. While she now contends that she's always opposed the war and has voted for bills to end it, one upstate paper reported when she first ran for the seat: "She said she supports the war in Iraq." In addition to her vote to extend funding, she also missed a key vote to override a Bush veto of a Democratic bill with Iraq timetables.
But it's her votes on the bailout bills -- which pleased no one but were widely seen as vital to the national and New York economies -- that could become the most damaging ammunition against her should she run statewide in 2010. She was one of 63 Democrats to break with the other 172 party members in the House and vote against the second bill, which she called "fundamentally flawed." Her argument against the bill seemed to be both parochial and political, contending that "upstate New York needs a plan that will actually work to stabilize our economy and protect taxpayers."
Read the whole thing, including a look at where Gillibrand's money comes from. Meanwhile, anti-gun crusading Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, elected after her husband was killed in the LIRR shooting, says she will challenge Gillibrand in a primary in 2010 or support someone else who will.
I'm pretty happy with Gillibrand. The fact that she voted against the TARP, alone, is good enough for me.
If the Republicans pick a good candidate this seat could be a pick up in 2 years.
I think Pete King announced he wanted to run.
I disagree, DCH. The seat was there for the taking on a Caroline pick. If she does not face a primary challenge I think she will be unbeatable.
Keep dreamin' guys. NY is a democratic state (as far as Senators go) for now and forever. No Republican is going to win a Senate seat until hell freezes over.
The only issue will be what Democrat wants to challenge her. Any Republican is just cannon fodder.
I am basing my opinion on that she is so unknown (no name recognition)and the special election will be in just 22 months. If he had picked Cuomo-forget about it-he would be a Senator for life. Fosella would have been an interesting opponent before his zipper problem.
Just to go off an a political science tangent-this is a perfect example of how a victory for one side during an election undermines future victories by that same side. Hillary would be Senator forever, now the seat comes into play. Gilbrand won her seat in a distrcit usually one by republicans-that seat now comes back into play and is a good target for a pick up. Obama's seat in Illinois is another example. When all these nvestigations/indictments and prosecutions are done there is going to be an opportunity to pick it up. The Governor's seat in Arizona now that Neapolitano is in charge of DHS.
Things are never static guys. I live in NYC just 3 years ago my Governor, Mayor, US Congressman and State Senator were all Republicans. In 22 months, both US Senators here will be up for re-election. That is going to be an interesting dynamic. Couple usual mid term problems for the party in power, with what will probably be a negative view of the economy, a massive deficit under a dem president and congress and any possible scandals and other things-terrorist attack, international crisis, whatever-things can change quickly.
Good point all, dch. My thinking, she is legitimately middle of the road, hence the howls from the left fringe at her selection, hence the appearance of Senator Pothole at her presser. If Patterson and Schumer can squelch a serious primary challenge, her positions and upstate credentials prevent any Republican challenge from getting off the ground.
Lee, as dch noted things change.