January 23rd, 2009
12:49 PM ET
10 months ago

Gillibrand's House seat could be GOP opportunity

 Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand thanks Gov. David Paterson, right, after her appointment to the Senate on Friday.
Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand thanks Gov. David Paterson, right, after her appointment to the Senate on Friday.

(CNN) - Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand's promotion to the United States Senate gives the Republicans an opportunity to score a campaign victory early this year.

Related: Paterson names Clinton successor

Gillibrand's House seat will remain open until New York State Governor David Paterson schedules a special election. That contest needs to take place 30-40 days from when Paterson issues a proclamation on a special election - but the timing of that announcement is up to the governor.

Paterson today named Gillibrand to fill New York's vacant Senate seat, which opened up after Hillary Clinton resigned to serve as Secretary of State.

Until today, Gillibrand represented New York's 20th congressional district, which stretches from Dutchess county, at the northern fringe of the New York City suburbs, all the way north to Saratoga, Washington and Warren counties in the northern part of the state and west to Green and Delaware counties in the northern Catskills region.

The district is conservative and was considered a safe Republican seat until Gillibrand knocked off then Republican Congressman John Sweeney in an ugly campaign battle in 2006. Gillibrand won that election by 6 points, and re-election to the seat by 24 points in 2008.

Despite her landslide victory, the district continues to lean Republican. "We view this as a potential opportunity,” says Ken Spain, Communications Director at the National Republican Congressional Committee. “The party central committee will decide on a candidate and we will assess the situation from there, but first Governor Paterson will need to decide on a special election date."

Democrats acknowledge that will be a challenge to keep the seat, but they point out that Barack Obama won the district by a small margin in November.

One Democratic strategist says that the party’s priority will be making sure their candidate has the necessary resources to run an aggressive voter contact program.


Filed under: Kirsten Gillibrand
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. CAL

    She's a closet republican, I don't trust her and she hasn't been sworn in yet as a senator. President Obama watch this snake.

    January 23, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Oilengineer

    Most of these comments are dead on. Most of the country are Reagan Democrats. We keep getting stuck with polar representatives for elections however.

    January 23, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Lilly

    Paul, If you look at her voting record you will see she is far from a Republican.

    I hope "Outspoken" is correct.

    January 23, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. margie w.

    I'm very suspicious of anyone who supported Bushies tax cuts.

    January 23, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. bernj

    NOT a good move by Patterson in my humble opinion. There are enough "near" republicans claiming they are democrats already. He did not have to pick Caroline but he should have at least picked someone in the democratic mainstream.

    January 23, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. barack Obama is still just B.O.

    Let's hope it is for all our sakes!
    The dimocrats are running us straight into the ground.
    If people say Bush should be prosecuted for his decisions as president, then Pelosi and Reid should be tarred and feathered then shot.

    January 23, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Steve (the real one)

    Some of your libs care more about being liberal than American. The same applies to some republicans as well!! So she isn't liberal, so she is a moderate. So what!! We need people who can effectively work to get this country moving again. She is a member of the NRA, so what! Ask folks in her district if she is an effective congressswoman! That will be a better indicator of what we can expect out of her as a Senator. You are crying for everyone to give President Obama a chance. You are not willing to give Gillibrand a chance? Time to listen to your own advice! Most of you have no idea of her voting record in congress you are only reacting to the word moderate! Grow up!

    January 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Not My Choice

    Boooooooooooo

    January 23, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Kristy

    Good Going Paterson! She was one of the first choices prior to Princess Caroline wanting the position. It's good to see that career people won out over "entitled people". I'm glad that Paterson could see past Princess Caroline's entitled pedigree that "the best in show" is not as good as "mutt" you find in the local pound!

    January 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Rachel, MO

    Paterson is a crazy man. He should enjoy his 15 minutes of fame and move on. Paterson made the wrong choice and he has shown that he's not up for the job.

    This woman is nice but by no means should have be picked over Cuomo or Caroline for that matter.

    Wrong choice, wrong Governor, move on.

    January 23, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. DP

    It is about time some real comments came out. I have always felt like an outcast since I lean to the middle of the road on most issues but very conservative on spending. I have always been a supporter of the Blue Dogs but feel the democrats on this board do nothing but call everyone liars and haters. I hope more of the conservatives blue dogs keep speaking up.

    January 23, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Kristy

    Number 1 choice from the start. It was only Princess Caroline that wanted to be anointed. Glad the Governor didn't give the Princess what she wanted, and chose the valid candidate.

    January 23, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. ellington7

    Great pick Gov, and don't worry about that open seat in the house because the republicans are "more" than finished.

    Go riddens Gop

    January 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. emmanuel

    peterson or whatever his name is i a blind ignorant bofoon who cannot see beyound his nose. He said Caroline is not ready for prime time, who is this blind guy anyway, was he ready for prime time?, hes had affairs and he can not even see to read documents. hes an idiot.

    January 23, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. shannon

    RIght now on MSNBC they are talking about how this woman is in the pocket of the NRA, and how she lobbys exensively to allow guns to flow into our streets with no regulations. It's sad that this woman is allowed to represent the people of New York. Representative Caroline Mcarthy who lost family members to gun violence, said this is a horrible choice, and she will challenge her seat because of her NRA ties

    January 23, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Bob in Pa

    Hmm, A closet Republican ... maybe JM should have chosen her over Palin....

    January 23, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Mia

    So when will the time come that appointing a woman to replace a woman will not be playing the "gender card" and picking a black senator to replace another black senator not be playing the "race card?" For centuries, white men have been replacing white men. I'm quite frankly sick of people playing the "since-he-didn't-pick-a-white-man-he-must-be-playing-the-gender/race card".

    January 23, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Mia

    Not even a Republican district will admit to being a Republican district these days.

    January 23, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. gsiofy

    Good choice , this will give balance to the libral senate , best of luck

    January 23, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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