Gillibrand's 2010 Path Gets Easier
By Ben Pershing
Rep. Carolyn Maloney reportedly will announce today that she does not plan to run in next year's New York Senate Democratic primary, increasing the likelihood that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will enjoy a smooth path to the party nomination.
Gov. David Paterson (D) appointed Gillibrand to the seat, formerly held by current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in January after a drawn-out and controversial selection process. The pick of Gillibrand, then in her second term in the House representing an Albany-area district, prompted some critics within the party -- including Maloney, who represents parts of Manhattan and Queens -- to complain Gillibrand was too moderate and too out-of-step with downstate issues.
Though liberals have grumbled that Gillibrand should not have a clear path in next year's primary, the full weight of the party establishment, including the White House and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), is on the incumbent's side, making it difficult for any primary challenger to gather the support and money necessary to mount a viable bid. Other possible entrants, including Reps. Carolyn McCarthy and Steve Israel, decided against making runs.
Maloney had been seriously weighing a Senate campaign anyway, calling Gillibrand a flip-flopper who was scrambling to change her previous positions on gun rights and other issues. But Maloney hit an unpleasant patch of controversy when she was forced to apologize for using "the n-word" during an interview in which she criticized Gillibrand.
With Maloney out, it's unlikely any other prominent Democrat will step in to challenge Gillibrand in the primary. And no big-name Republican opponents have emerged either, meaning Gillibrand now has a very strong chance of winning next November.
August 7, 2009; 10:57 AM ET
Categories: 2010 Campaign
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