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Gillibrand Helps House Candidate -- and Herself

By Ben Pershing

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) is wading into the special election race to fill her vacant House seat, cutting an ad for her potential successor and possibly boosting her own political stock in the process.

Gov. David Paterson (D) sparked controversy in the Empire State by elevating Gillibrand from her Albany-based House seat to fill the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Paterson's move drew criticism both because he snubbed Caroline Kennedy, who openly campaigned for the seat, and because many state Democrats -- particularly those from New York City -- believe Gillibrand is too conservative on issues like gun rights to represent the party well. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is considering mounting a Democratic primary challenge to Gillibrand for that reason.

Gillibrand has been seeking to assuage those concerns and reach out to her fellow Democrats statewide, and she's also trying keep her old House seat in the blue column. The district leans toward the GOP, but recent polls have put venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D) within single digits of state Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R). Now Gillibrand has cut an ad for Murphy in which she describes him as "the only candidate with proven business experience" who will "never back down in protecting upstate New York":

If Murphy can win a race in which he was initially pegged as an underdog, Gillibrand can brag that her support helped put him over the top, and that she has the political chops to be competitive in 2010. If Murphy loses, critics will charge that she is in no position to run a statewide campaign if she can't even keep her home district Democratic.

Helping Murphy isn't the only thing Gillibrand has been doing to try to help herself. She's also done some old-fashioned, retail politicking. Yesterday, she announced that the federal government was giving half a billion dollars in grants to New York for weatherization and energy efficiency projects. The day before, she made a stop at the Bronx Zoo to talk about job creation, and the day before that, she bragged that she was co-sponsoring legislation to end automatic pay raises for members of Congress. Gillibrand may still have a ways to go to convince the rest of her party that she was the right choice to fill Clinton's seat, but she won't be accused of not trying.

By Ben Pershing  |  March 13, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Campaign  
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Hopefully Gillibrand can be part of the solution as we can turn this economy around and actually focus on solving the deeper, systemic issues for why we're in this situation. Obviously bad banking's a good place to start, but there are other issues, like global poverty, that have huge economic and geopolitical ramifications.

The Borgen Project ( has some interesting insight into addressing the issues of global poverty, something we can remedy easily and sustainably.

Some interesting figures to ponder:
$30 billion USD: The annual shortfall to end global poverty.
$550 billion USD: The annual US defense budget.

Posted by: concernedcitizen1111 | March 13, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Kirsty Gillibrand made her political mark by winning a NY Democratic congressional term in a traditional Republican district.

Kirsty is hard line on immigration. She has earned strong support from the NRA.

I have a problem with her public statements about keeping guns under her bed. A mother of young children should not be making weapons so accessible to her kids. Nor should she be advertising the location of these waepons in self serving and NRA appeasing interviews.

No doubt that the real Kirsty has some good political intentions. I am curious to see what she really cares about.

Posted by: gtagta18 | March 13, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

For those of who are not familiar with Gillibrand, she was my Rep. in the 20th District in NY. Her positions on guns have been grossly misrepresented by the media and other self-serving competitors. She is extremely dedicated, intelligent, insightful, and accessible to constituents. We reelected her here with 62% of the vote, because she did an excellent job of representing our interests, and getting results. She will do the same as our Senator.

Re: her gun positions: The truth is, her favorable rating with the NRA was based on only 3 votes over the course of a single congressional term. Her position on guns has always been based on protecting the rights of sports hunters while keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals.

Her voting record is solidly progressive. She opposes the war in Iraq, is a staunch advocate of women's rights, pay equity and choice; gay rights; stem cell research; increasing the minimum wage; and expanding affordable housing, Head Start and SCHIP. She is also greatly respected for her experience in financial services and banking. She has been endorsed by numerous progressive democratic issue-groups, including the ACLU, the League of Conservation Voters, EMILY'S List, NARAL, the Sierra Club, and the AFL- CIO.

Posted by: franf1 | March 14, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

This Senator holds the Senates record for rolling over to the Illegal Alien Pro= Amnesty lobbies ! She cant be trusted as well as the Illegal Alien supporters who endorse her !

Posted by: catinhat83510496 | March 14, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Vote for Jim Tedisco. Vote for honesty, integrity, hard work. Get involved -

Posted by: andy5925 | March 16, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

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