(CNN) - A new poll indicates that former New York Gov. George Pataki is in a dead heat with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a hypothetical Senate election match up. There's only one problem: The former two-term Republican governor has not publicly indicated that he has any desire to challenge Gillibrand, a Democrat.
According to a Marist College Institute for Public Opinion survey released Monday, 47 percent of New York State voters would back Pataki and 45 percent would support Gillibrand if the general election were held today, with 8 percent undecided.
The poll also indicates that 27 percent think Gillibrand's doing either an excellent or good job in office, with just over one in three saying she's doing a fair job, 17 percent adding that she's performing poorly and just over one in five undecided. Gillibrand, who was a congresswoman from upstate New York, was appointed to the Senate last year by New York Gov. David Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton, who stepped down to become secretary of State. Gillibrand is running this year to serve the final two years of Clinton's term.
"Former Governor Pataki is the big unknown for Gillibrand," says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, "With her approval rating at 27 percent, Gillibrand will almost certainly have her work cut out for her if Pataki enters the race."
Washington (CNN) – Following weeks of speculation, Dan Senor, a Defense Department official during President George W. Bush's administration, has decided not to run for Senate in New York.
Senor, the husband of CNN anchor Campbell Brown, had been mulling a challenge to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. She was appointed last year to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. Republicans have yet to recruit a serious opponent for Gillibrand.
"Over the past few weeks, I took a very serious look at running for the Senate seat in New York," Senor said in a statement. "I ultimately decided this wasn't the right time in my family and business life for me to run.
Senor said he will "continue to look for ways to advance the policy debate here in New York, especially on issues that I am most concerned about: America's declining economic competitiveness, skyrocketing deficits and taxes, a national security strategy that is drifting and a morally equivalent foreign policy that is troubling."
He promised to stay involved in New York politics and lend a hand to whichever Republican decides to seek the seat.
Gillibrand also dodged a potential Democratic primary challenge earlier this month when former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford decided against a bid.
(CNN) - Former Democratic congressman Harold Ford, Jr. has decided to pass on a bid to unseat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York.
Gillibrand was appointed last year by New York Gov. David Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton, who stepped down to become secretary of state. The Democratic establishment has lined up behind Gillibrand, effectively clearing the field of any primary challengers who might have been thinking about taking on the freshman senator.
But Ford recently emerged as a possible challenger to Gillibrand, who previously represented a congressional district in upstate New York.
The Tennessee Democrat, who moved to New York City in 2006 after losing a Senate race against Bob Corker, explained his decision not to mount a primary challenge to Gillibrand in an op-ed published on the New York Times Web site Monday.
(CNN) - As he continues to mull a potential primary bid against New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. defended what appears to be his shift to the left in the four years since he ran for Senate in Tennessee.
In an appearance on Comedy Central's Colbert Report Monday, Ford specifically defended his more liberal language on the issues of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. In his 2006 Tennessee Senate bid, Ford regularly referred to himself as pro-life and said he was an opponent of allowing gays to be married.
But with respect to abortion rights, Ford maintained Monday he has always been "pro-choice" and said he used the term "pro-life" in 2006 to describe his stances on separate issues.
"When I'd walk into forums, I'd look before the audience I'd say let's tell all the people we are really the pro-life ones, we are the ones who support education, and health care, and veterans benefits," he said. "I stand by that."
(CNN) - A top political adviser to President Obama will headline a fundraiser later this month for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York Democrat who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Plouffe will appear at a $250 per person breakfast at a New York City law firm on Feb. 22, a Gillibrand campaign aide said. The aide added that the campaign specifically asked Plouffe to appear at the fundraiser.
Last month, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made clear the Obama administration's support for Gillibrand.
"I think the White House is quite happy with the leadership and the representation of Senator Gillibrand in New York," Gibbs said at a press briefing. "And as many are in the DSCC, we're supporting her reelection."
The DSCC, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is the political arm for Democratic senators.
Washington (CNN) - A day after New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sharply criticized potential Democratic primary challenger, Harold Ford Jr., she hit him again just hours before President Obama's first State of the Union address.
"Looking forward to the #SOTU tonight," Gillibrand wrote on her Twitter account. "If HF [Harold Ford] were here, he would probably be sitting on the Republican side."
Earlier this month, Ford, a former moderate Democratic congressman from Tennessee, announced that he was considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand.
Washington (CNN) - New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand accused potential primary challenger Harold Ford Jr. Tuesday of being beholden to Wall Street interests, a day after he charged that she was following in lock step behind national Democratic leaders.
"I dont (sic) know who Harold Ford thinks I am, but I will not be pushed aside by him and a handful of his big banker buddies," Gillibrand said in a statement released by her campaign that described Ford's party affiliation as (I-Wall Street). "As for his childish name calling, I would not allow that kind of name calling from my 6 year old son and I certainly dont (sic) think it is appropriate for someone who says they want to be a Senator from NY. Fords attacks dont (sic) hurt me, they do hurt the people of New York by distracting us from the real economic challenges that middle class families are facing."
On Monday, Ford sharply criticized Gillibrand in a radio interview on Talk 1300 Radio in Albany. "Understand that you're not elected to the United States Senate to be a parakeet or to take instructions from the Democratic leadership," said Ford, a former Tennessee congressman now living in New York.
Earlier this month, Ford announced that he was considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand, a former congresswoman appointed by Gov. David Paterson to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton. The former first lady turned senator resigned her seat to become President Obama's Secretary of State.
Full text of statement after the jump:
(CNN) - A second straight poll of New York State voters indicates that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York holds a double digit lead over a potential Democratic challenger.
But the Siena Research Institute survey, released Monday, also indicates that more New Yorkers have an unfavorable view of Gillibrand than have a favorable view.
Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee last week announced he's considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York who was was named a year ago to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton, who stepped down from her Senate seat after being confirmed as secretary of state.
Gillibrand is running this year to serve the final two years of Clinton's term. Ford, a former five-term congressman who narrowly lost a 2006 bid for the Senate in Tennessee, now lives in New York.
According the the Siena poll, Gillibrand leads Ford 41 to 17 percent in a hypothetical Democratic party primary match up, with 37 percent undecided. Gillibrand had a 19 point advantage over Ford in a Marist College survey released Friday, with one in three voters undecided.
But some other results in the poll also spells trouble for Gillibrand.
(CNN) - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York holds a double digit lead over a potential Democratic challenger, according to a new poll.
Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee this week announced he's considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York who was was named a year ago to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton, who stepped down from her Senate seat after being confirmed as secretary of state. Gillibrand is running this year to serve the final two years of Clinton's term. Ford, a former five-term congressman who narrowly lost a 2006 bid for the Senate in Tennessee, now lives in New York.
A Marist College poll released Friday indicates that Gillibrand leads Ford 43 to 24 percent in a hypothetical Democratic party primary match up, with 33 percent undecided.
"Gillibrand has an early lead, but she still has a lot of ground to cover," says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of Marist Institute for Public Opinion. "She's below 50 percent against Ford, and a third of Democrats is undecided. Her approval rating among Democrats statewide is only 31 percent."
NEW YORK (CNN) - Former New York Gov. George Pataki wouldn't say Monday if he is interested in challenging Kirsten Gillibrand for her U.S. Senate seat next year - but didn't rule it out, either.
Asked if he's considering a bid, a coy Pataki wouldn't go any further than: "People have talked to me about a lot of different things."
Pataki's comments came as he was giving the Republican National Committee's response Monday to President Barack Obama's economic speech at Hudson Community College in Troy, New York.
A recent Marist College poll of New York State voters suggests that Pataki leads Gillibrand 48 percent to 44 percent in a hypothetical matchup in next year's Senate race. Pataki's lead in the survey is within the poll's sampling error.