NYT: New York G.O.P. Lacks Big Name for 2010 Slate
It might be The New York Times (conservatives roll your eyes), but that newspaper recently put up an article about the sad but true state of GOP candidates this year. Here it is, for those that did not see it:
America’s Mayor is out. But take heart, New York Republicans — Larchmont’s mayor could get in.
It has come to this for the party of such electoral lions as Rudolph W. Giuliani, George E. Pataki and Alfonse M. D’Amato: a rookie Democrat, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand — largely unknown to the public and unloved by some in her own party — faces her first election to the seat in November. But Republicans have been unable to land a marquee name to run against her.
So far, the only hopefuls to surface in opposition to Senator Gillibrand are Michael Balboni, a former state senator from Long Island; Bruce A. Blakeman, a former Nassau County legislator who ran for comptroller in 1998 but was defeated 2 to 1 by H. Carl McCall; and Elizabeth N. Feld, the mayor of the village of Larchmont (population 6,567), who was trounced in a State Senate race in 2008.
The decision by Mr. Giuliani to stay in private work, and the apparent lack of interest on the part of Mr. Pataki, leave the Republican Party in recruiting and rebuilding mode precisely when it could use a proven, popular figure to step in and take on Ms. Gillibrand, who, political analysts say, may never be this vulnerable again. Barring that, Republicans could see their ticket headed by Rick Lazio, the former four-term Long Island congressman who was thumped by Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2000 Senate race and is running for governor now.
“It tells you the Republicans don’t have a bench,” said Douglas Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College. “What they have is a couple of over-the-hill, aging, former major leaguers who don’t want to go through the rigors of the game. And Lazio was a nobody when he was a somebody.”
Republican candidates for other statewide races are not exactly A-listers. The best known is John Faso, who was blown out by Eliot Spitzer in the 2006 governor’s race and is said to be thinking over a run for state comptroller. Harry J. Wilson, a wealthy hedge fund partner who retired at 36 and worked on President Obama’s automotive industry task force, and the Rockland County executive, C. Scott Vanderhoef, have also floated their names for comptroller.
Mr. Lazio is being challenged by Chris Collins, the Erie County executive. And potential candidates for attorney general include District Attorneys Daniel M. Donovan of Staten Island, Kathleen B. Hogan of Glens Falls and William J. Fitzpatrick of Syracuse, Republican operatives say.
Oddly, the paucity of high-profile contenders comes as party leaders have reason to feel sanguine about their prospects in 2010. Last month’s elections, they say, showed not merely anti-incumbent but anti-Democratic sentiment, with Republican upsets in county races in Nassau and Westchester, and big gains in county and local races in the Hudson Valley, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.
Republicans are optimistic about their chances of retaking the State Senate in 2010. But if Andrew M. Cuomo winds up winning the governor’s office in a rout, as some Republicans fear, they have defensive reasons to seek a formidable candidate to take on Ms. Gillibrand, said Kieran Mahoney, a top Republican strategist.
“In ’92, D’Amato on the ballot prevented the Clinton landslide from burying down-ballot Republicans,” he said. “A competitive race against Gillibrand this year could have the same effect, and would be particularly important in recapturing the New York State Senate.”
Party leaders stressed that they had benefited from wide-open primary races before, and say just because their candidates are little known now does not mean they should be counted out. In 1980, Mr. D’Amato leaped from town supervisor to the Senate, and in 1994, George E. Pataki jumped from the State Senate to the governor’s mansion.
“Sometimes it’s not necessarily the big name you think of right now,” said Dean G. Skelos, the State Senate minority leader. “Really, it clears the path to those out there, some who may be self-funders, some we may not have thought of yet, to say, with Rudy Giuliani out, maybe they’re going to take a shot at it.”
Ryan Moses, a former executive director of the state Republicans, agreed. “We have an opportunity here,” Mr. Moses said.
While Mr. Giuliani mentioned Mr. Pataki and Representative Peter T. King of Long Island as potential challengers to Ms. Gillibrand, those who know Mr. Pataki say the odds of his running are remote. (Efforts to reach Mr. Pataki through a spokesman on Tuesday were unsuccessful.)
Mr. King ruled out a race against Ms. Gillibrand in August, but said in an interview on Tuesday that he would give it a second thought, at the urging of party strategists. A run would mean giving up his House seat and his spot as ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, and winning would leave him facing re-election in 2012.
Story from NYTimes.com.
So who do you think should run? Feel free to comment and let us know your thoughts!