January 23rd, 2009
12:49 PM ET
3 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. Lucieann

    If the district is so Conservative, then the Democrats shoudn't have a problem finding another Blue Dog residing there. If there was Gillibrand, there must be more.

    January 23, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Maggie from Virginia

    Matt – I feel for you. You are a sad soul. Every comment you make is negative. Hate is a very heavy burden to carry.

    January 23, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Dont blame me

    She represents what Democrats USED TO be like, the ones that actually stood up for their constituents instead of these far LEFT nut jobs that are currently serving.

    January 23, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. Snake eyes

    Theres nothing wrong with a blue dog democrat– a blue dog democrat vote still goes in the "D" column. Liberal democrats should consider being more embracing of people with different views than their own.

    January 23, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Sylvia

    GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

    I am glad Paterson stood up for himself!!!!

    January 23, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. not a little sad, actually quite happy

    @Paul January 23rd, 2009 1:36 pm ET

    Why,? Sounds like she almost IS a republican. She probably has a pretty good chance of defending that seat.

    They're talking about the seat she's vacating, not the seat she will have to defend in 2010.

    Best wishes,. Ms Gillibrand

    January 23, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Matt

    Well, one thing's for sure...he didn't pick her just because he loked her looks.

    ooooohhhh....ok ok...5 hail mary's....

    January 23, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Helene

    The worst possible choice. What was he thinking ?

    January 23, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. J. Huck

    The process is such a joke, have a special election rather than a single person overwrites the will of the people, they'll have a special election anyway for her district, why not the senate seat. In Patterson's case, he is an accidental governor and his views may not exactly represent the majority of New Yorkers.

    January 23, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Mariann Pepitone

    Why would there be a special election. Paterson already filled the seat and she should be the senator until the term is up. The republicans are always barking about nothing. What makes them think a republican would win. Kirsten won prior and I believe she could win again. Its time for women to be senators. Men have held those seats for a long time. Byrd had to retire, Ted Kennedy should retire and McCain is getting old enough to retire also. I really thought he would choose the former Mayor's son who has the best experience but evidently he wanted a woman.

    January 23, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Dianne

    I see GOP opportunities galore! The Gubernatorial race, the Senate race, and the 20th Congressional District in 2010. Both the Gubernatorial & Senate races have appointed candidates & a Special Election will have to be held in the 20th Congressional District which is traditionally a Republican stronghold.

    January 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. Matt

    @ Dont blame me

    As a Senator, her constuency is the ENTIRE STATE, not just the district she's coming from . Funny how Cuomo had more widespread support, yet you seem to think she better represents what NY wanted.

    January 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Are you serious?

    I don't think it's accurate to paint her as an across-the-board Blue Dog or social conservative. From what I understand, she is quite conservative on certain social and economic issues (gun rights, the Bush tax cuts) while very liberal on others (civil liberties, abortion, gay marriage). In other words, she speaks her mind without regard to ideology. Not bad.

    January 23, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. Julia

    Perhaps this is an opportunity for the GOP albeit a small one. Their hold in both houses is small - Democrats far outweigh any measures they send through that are lame. Beyond that, when Franken is seated, it will balance it out even more. This lady labels herself as a Democrat to get New York votes, but her stances are all Republican. She'll find she will quickly fit onto side of the losing aisle. That said, her record will come into play next year during New Yorks special election cycle. She's an interim Senator now. If she sides too much with the GOP, New York will send her home next year. I say she sould make the most of the next year and a half and enjoy it while it lasts. Good luck, President Obama, and welcome. It's about time.

    January 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. AJ

    That would just figure. This woman is a hate filled bible banging gun loving monster who should actually be a Republican and Patterson fell all over himself to appoint her. Now her house seat will be filled by a Republican. Good move Patterson. Your political eye is just as blind as the other two.

    January 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Andy J, Upstate NY

    @ don't blame me

    Right on. you are exactly right, she is what democrats used to be.

    now, i'm far too much a libertarian to buy in to the democrat/republican deal, but if they like what i like, i'll support the person.

    January 23, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. rob

    He won't be re-elected and she sure won't . He isn't doing a good job for New York .

    January 23, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. nick

    The Republicans look for anything to brag about,however if they think she will be easy to beat in 2010, they should remember that she beat a favored Republican to get the job she has now.

    January 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    She is a democrat, and blue-dog democrats are what we are going to need AFTER the economic stimulus begins working and we need to raise taxes to start paying it back.

    Real republicans and blue-dog democrats support raising taxes because it is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

    The liberals want to cut taxes until we don't have any money -but still keep spending anyway.

    Right wing republicans want to cut taxes until we don't have any money then just shut down the government because it isn't needed since business and capitalists are the ones who are better able to control the country and make it run more efficiently.

    January 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. BlueDOg

    The GOP is DEAD. Conservatism is NOT. This woman is more consdervative than Clinton and she is a prime example of why the RINOs from the northeast were booted out of office. I only wish I lived in NY so I could vote FOR her in 2010. Long live the Reagan Dems!!

    January 23, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Rudy G

    I sense an opening...

    January 23, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Outspoken

    After two years of B.O., ALL house seats may be a "republican opportunity."

    January 23, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Matthew

    Right? He should have appointed Sasquatch.

    January 23, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. BeefyDaddy

    http://dccc.org/blog/archives/nrcc_economy_is_robust_and_job_creation_is_strong/

    The GOp is so out of touch that they could never beat (In Name Only) Gillibrand

    January 23, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. BBB

    Although I have no problem with this appointment... I cannot wait to get rid of this joke of a governor!

    January 23, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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