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January 23, 2009

Paterson to pick Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate

So Gillibrand will replace Clinton. This was reported by a local New York television station last night and then picked up by everyone else. One note of caution: it hasn't actually happened yet, so it's not necessarily going to happen. We got jerked around by Sweet Caroline's "Um, yes, um, no" act earlier in the week and Governor Paterson's office will not confirm or deny that Gillibrand is the pick.

Gillibrand is a moderate Democrat, the 42-year-old mother of two young children who lives in Hudson, N.Y., and is in her second House term.


She's known as a Blue Dog Democrat, not always popular with liberals for her support of the National Rifle Assn. in her significantly rural 20th District, but said to be Clinton's favorite as her replacement.

However, her support for gun rights hasn't softened her stance on social issues, where she is anything but moderate.

By the way,
you heard it here first. On December 30, DrewM. suggested that Gillibrand would be the pick.

There's a whole slew of candidates listed. My front runner, Rep. Kristen Gillibrand isn't on there but I'm sticking with her as my guess. She's a woman who is nominally from upstate but has lots of ties with NYC power brokers (she represents an upstate district but pretty much used her summer home as her primary residence to do it).

Well done, Drew.

[DrewM.] Below the fold, a few thoughts

A few quick thoughts…

Yes, Gillibrand is about as good as Republicans can hope for but we shouldn’t get too carried away, she did get Moveon.org money in her first race in 2006 and opposed the surge in Iraq.

My guess is she will be a fairly consistent vote for Harry Reid in the Senate. She’s never run statewide and she will have to do it twice in the next 4 years (a special election in 2010 and assuming she wins that a regular election in 2012). Statewide races in NY aren’t cheap . The Democrats who are going to pony up the cash for that in NY and DC aren’t likely to love the whole ‘blue dog’ thing.

She also will likely face a primary challenge from the left in the 2010 race. It's likely she will move left to stave that off. Now, I’m not saying she’s going to go full on liberal nut job but she’s not likely to break ranks much from the Democratic line. Her two year “moderate” track record is based on representing an overwhelmingly Republican district which is not representative of the state as a whole. The only reason she won that seat in the first place was because the guy she beat, John Sweeney, self-destructed in a domestic violence scandal shortly before the election. Prior to that Gillibrand was simply cannon fodder. Life takes interesting turns.

As for her current seat, it will go to a Republican no doubt. If he runs, the guy conservatives should want is former Assemblyman and perennial candidate John Fasso. He’s the real deal when it comes to spending and such.

Unfortunately, as things stand, this district (NY20) is going to disappear for the 2012 elections after redistricting. Now, given the chaos of the NY State Senate and the slim Democratic majority in that house, it’s possible (though not likely) that the Republicans will get control of the Senate again and save the seat. However, I am not predicting that.

All that said as a New Yorker, I’m glad it’s Gillibrand and not you know, Princess Caroline.

Thanks to Gabe for graciously letting me add my thoughts here and Slublog for the Newsday link.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:24 AM

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