NY-Sen B: Nothing to see here

Former Governor George Pataki has decided not to run for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand this year, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Instead, he said in an interview Tuesday that he would create a new national organization aimed at building support to repeal the recently enacted health-care overhaul.

Mr. Pataki's decision to bypass the Senate race marks another major coup for Ms. Gillibrand, who has been enormously successful in knocking out competition on both sides of the aisle despite appearing to be vulnerable politically.

I agree with Phillip Anderson of The Albany Project blog; it sounds like Pataki wants to run for president. He must be delusional if he thinks he has a chance in a GOP primary with his relatively moderate record as governor.

A year ago, Gillibrand seemed less than secure for the 2010 election, but various potential high-profile challengers have declined to take on this race. (New York's other U.S. Senate race has always been in the safe D category with Chuck Schumer.) Taniel of the Campaign Diaries blog noted yesterday that with Gillibrand no longer threatened, the last Senate seats that could still become competitive are Washington and Wisconsin. I think three-term incumbent Patty Murray would prevail even if the GOP's best candidate, Dino Rossi, got in the race. Ditto for Senator Russ Feingold against the GOP's dream recruit, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.

UPDATE: Unintentional comedy alert as new Republican enters race against Gillibrand. He is David Malpass, who was chief economist for Bear Stearns from 2001 until the company collapsed in 2008.

NY-Sen B: Nothing to see here

Former Governor George Pataki has decided not to run for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand this year, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Instead, he said in an interview Tuesday that he would create a new national organization aimed at building support to repeal the recently enacted health-care overhaul.

Mr. Pataki's decision to bypass the Senate race marks another major coup for Ms. Gillibrand, who has been enormously successful in knocking out competition on both sides of the aisle despite appearing to be vulnerable politically.

I agree with Phillip Anderson of The Albany Project blog; it sounds like Pataki wants to run for president. He must be delusional if he thinks he has a chance in a GOP primary with his relatively moderate record as governor.

A year ago, Gillibrand seemed less than secure for the 2010 election, but various potential high-profile challengers have declined to take on this race. (New York's other U.S. Senate race has always been in the safe D category with Chuck Schumer.) Taniel of the Campaign Diaries blog noted yesterday that with Gillibrand no longer threatened, the last Senate seats that could still become competitive are Washington and Wisconsin. I think three-term incumbent Patty Murray would prevail even if the GOP's best candidate, Dino Rossi, got in the race. Ditto for Senator Russ Feingold against the GOP's dream recruit, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.

UPDATE: Unintentional comedy alert as new Republican enters race against Gillibrand. He is David Malpass, who was chief economist for Bear Stearns from 2001 until the company collapsed in 2008.

NY-Sen B: Nothing to see here

Former Governor George Pataki has decided not to run for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand this year, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Instead, he said in an interview Tuesday that he would create a new national organization aimed at building support to repeal the recently enacted health-care overhaul.

Mr. Pataki's decision to bypass the Senate race marks another major coup for Ms. Gillibrand, who has been enormously successful in knocking out competition on both sides of the aisle despite appearing to be vulnerable politically.

I agree with Phillip Anderson of The Albany Project blog; it sounds like Pataki wants to run for president. He must be delusional if he thinks he has a chance in a GOP primary with his relatively moderate record as governor.

A year ago, Gillibrand seemed less than secure for the 2010 election, but various potential high-profile challengers have declined to take on this race. (New York's other U.S. Senate race has always been in the safe D category with Chuck Schumer.) Taniel of the Campaign Diaries blog noted yesterday that with Gillibrand no longer threatened, the last Senate seats that could still become competitive are Washington and Wisconsin. I think three-term incumbent Patty Murray would prevail even if the GOP's best candidate, Dino Rossi, got in the race. Ditto for Senator Russ Feingold against the GOP's dream recruit, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.

UPDATE: Unintentional comedy alert as new Republican enters race against Gillibrand. He is David Malpass, who was chief economist for Bear Stearns from 2001 until the company collapsed in 2008.

From Florida to Colorado, Dems Clawing Back Up

Kos had a headline last week that said, “The tide is turning.” I wouldn’t go quite that far – the generic ballot isn’t Charlie Cook bad, but it’s still not good – but it is true that Democrats have seen a spate of good news lately, both in terms of polls and policy, and I think more is on the way.

Part of the good news is that the DCCC is going on offense, as Jonathan highlighted this morning. We will lose House seats, but the best way to blunt those losses is to flip some red seats, and the GOP has targeted nine incumbents and four open seats.

They do so with certain polls at their back. Two of the last three generic ballot polls give Democrats a lead, and the third is from Rasmussen. Ipsos/McClatchy’s ten point lead is probably an outlier as well, but even ignoring both Rasmussen and Ipsos, we still have a 47-44 Gallup lead. It’s a smaller lead than Dems usually need to do well, but I’ll take it.

In Senate politics, Rep. Kendrick Meek is running surprisingly strong in Florida. According to PPP, likely Repub nominee Marco Rubio is ahead of Meek by just 44-39, “and because there are a lot more undecided Democrats (20%) than Republicans (12%) the race is realistically probably even closer than 5 points.” Perhaps even more importantly, “Meek leads 41-34 with independents, a very rare outcome in this political climate when independents are usually leaning strongly toward the GOP.” In New York, Kirstin Gillibrand’s favorable keep on climbing. Per Rasmussen, that somewhat conservative firm, her approval spread is now 50-37. In November, it was 40-37, and in September, it was a net negative of 39-42.

Certain Governors’ races are looking good, too, including three pick-up opportunities. First, in Nevada, a poll out Sunday is the sixth in a row to show Democrat Rory Reid leading Jim Gibbons – Rasmussen has him up 44-36 despite his father’s down-ticket drag. In Georgia, a state that has voted Democrat for President just three times in 48 years, the likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate is leading all potential opponents. Another PPP poll shows former Gov. Roy Barnes beating Republicans 40-39, 41-36, and 43-38. Another red state where I look forward to the Governor’s race is my native Texas, where our best candidate since Ann Richards goes against an incumbent with a 32% approval rating. And though it would be a hold rather than a pick-up, it looks like Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has regained the lead in Colorado.

These encouraging numbers come in the midst of a bad political environment for Democrats, and it’s an environment that’s only likely to get better. Democratic candidates fare poorly when their party fares poorly, and the party may be about to run into some welcome successes: The Census Bureau’s coming hiring blitz will knock half a point off the unemployment rate, yesterday’s bipartisan White House meeting suggests the Kerry-Graham clean energy bill is inching towards passage, and health care reform is in the endgame. February groundhogs are not October pumpkins, so it makes sense that February’s political messes won’t be October’s messes.

Harold Ford Decides Against NY-Sen Run

Harold Ford is pro-life. Or maybe not.

Harold Ford supports gay marriage. Or maybe not.

Harold Ford has visited all of New York City - if helicopters count. And he likes local football - after all, he eats at fancy hotels with team owners. Maybe he paid for those breakfasts with a Merrill Lynch bonus.

Thankfully, none of that matters now. Ford has decided NOT to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary for NY-Sen this year.

“I’ve examined this race in every possible way, and I keep returning to the same fundamental conclusion: If I run, the likely result would be a brutal and highly negative Democratic primary — a primary where the winner emerges weak-ened and the Republican strengthened,” Mr. Ford wrote in an opinion article to be published in Tuesday’s edition of The New York Times.

I refuse to do anything that would help Republicans win a Senate seat in New York, and give the Senate majority to the
Republicans.”

The possibility of a run by the telegenic Mr. Ford, who has been working as a vice chairman of Merrill Lynch and a political commentator on NBC and MSNBC since moving to New York in 2006, had riveted New York’s political world, and touched off a furious behind-the-scenes effort to keep him out of the race over the last six weeks.

Thank God. Between Ford's awful roll-out and Gillibrand's solid leadership on repealing DADT, it's clear who is the superior politician and the superior policymaker here. At the end of the day, Ford has done little more than to boost Gillibrand's numbers against likely general election opponent, former Gov. George Pataki. And that's a good thing - we need Gillibrand in the Senate.

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