Wendy E. Long, a Manhattan attorney, has won the New York Republican primary to challenge Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in November. All three Republican candidates claimed that Sen. Gillibrand was defeatable because of voter dissatisfaction with President Obama.
Excuse us up here in the North country while we laugh our butts off.
During Senator Gillibrand’s first run for the House, in 2006, her opponent was four-times incumbent John E. Sweeney. The 20th district was a mostly rural area east of Albany. Mrs. Gillibrand had grown up in the district, which had been in Republican hands for all but four years since 1913. One of Sweeney’s best ads focused on Mrs. Gillibrand’s Manhattan apartment where she had lived for a year while at a Manhattan law firm. The ad made it sound like she still lived there, though she had transferred to the firm’s Albany office in 2001. Sweeney believed that the fastest way to turn off up-state New Yorkers was to paint Mrs. Gillibrand as a secret Manhattanite, which is just slightly less offensive than being a secret Muslim.
So, now, suddenly, upstate New York is supposed to start loving a Manhattanite with no ties to the upstate? We are talking about Andrew Cuomo’s state, where the voters decided they could actually accept an unmarried state First Lady in television celebrity chef Sandra Lee. We’re talking about Hillary Clinton’s state. In fact, Gillibrand was appointed to complete Clinton’s Senate term.
But mostly, we’re talking about Kirsten Gillibrand’s state. Let’s face it, there is something seriously New York about having the hottest Senator in Washington.
Meanwhile, down in Manhattan, Rep. Charles Rangel beat back multiple challengers to win his primary in a redrawn district with a slightly higher Latino population than his old district. The district has shifted from 70% African-American when Rangel first won it to less than 30% today. He has been in the house for 42 years. Rangel hasn’t budged in his entire career, but he’s represented the 18th, 19th, 16th, and 15th districts because the districts were renumbered. Tecnically, he was preceded in those districts by three famous predecessors, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Bella Abzug and now-Senator Charles Schumer, though the three actually represented different places than Rangel has.
And clear across the country, well, almost clear across, Senator Orrin Hatch pulled of the coup of the year. He beat a Tea Party challenger for his seat. It was feared that Hatch would lose as Senator Bennett did two years ago, but maybe a couple years of Mike Lee has wised up Utah voters. Hatch, like Rangel, should be easily re-elected in November.