Skip to comments.Gillibrandís Challengers
Posted on 06/22/2012 5:37:50 PM PDT by neverdem
America loves its underdogs. And New York Republicans have to choose among three of them — attorney Wendy Long, congressman Bob Turner, and comptroller George Maragos, who are all vying for the Republican nomination and the long-shot chance to oust an incumbent Democrat, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Recent polls have shown the senator’s lead over her three potential opponents to range between 33 and 42 points. This makes sense. In New York, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans two to one, and no Republican has won statewide office since George Pataki was elected to his third term as governor in 2002.To boot, Gillibrand already has over $9 million in the coffers.
But New York does have a history of interesting statewide upsets — Chuck Schumer over Al D’Amato, James L. Buckley winning as a Conservative-party nominee, George Pataki over Mario Cuomo. Also, national conservative organizations are investing in the race: the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, and Citizens United, to name a few. Their dollars — mostly modest donations, though Citizens United gave the legal maximum of $10,000 — speak louder than words.
The primary race is seen as a contest between Turner and Long, with Maragos trailing a distant third. While both recognize the tremendous challenge posed by Gillibrand, both also claim to know how to pull off a win.
Bob Turner first gained national attention with his surprising capture of Anthony Weiner’s vacated congressional seat in 2011. Turner, who spent over 40 years in the television industry, does not brand himself as a politician. Instead, the 71-year-old lifetime New Yorker sees himself as someone “who got off his couch and said, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.’”
Turner has been able to attract supporters big and small, from Rudy Giuliani (“Bob Turner is the definition of a citizen-legislator”) to local political leaders such as John Watch, president of the Northeast Queens Republican Club (“He is genuine, not just someone who is stopping by to placate us”).
Turner spokesman Jessica Proud echoes this appeal, along with the congressman’s conservative bona fides: “Turner is the only one with the record. Long and Maragos have never had to be on the frontlines. Voters are going to want some assurances that what you see is what you get.”
But others — notably Grover Norquist, a Long supporter — hold that Turner’s hesitancy to take tax hikes off the table as part of any debt deal means he can’t claim to be the conservative in the race. Asked about this, Turner chuckles. “Am I chopped liver? Everyone knows at this point where I am. . . . My policies have been pretty clear.” Turner has voted for the Ryan budget in the House.
Norquist’s involvement underscores a larger theme of the race: Long is more popular among conservative organizations nationally. Steve Forbes, John Bolton, Al Cardenas (the American Conservative Union’s chairman), and David Bossie (president of Citizens United) — to name a few — are also rallying to Long’s candidacy.
Bossie calls Long “wicked smart” and argues she could be quite dangerous to Gillibrand, particularly in debates. “She is not just a candidate. . . . She’s a special candidate,” says Cardenas. Forbes says that she represents a unique opportunity for conservatives who are considering donating time and resources: “As this [race] progresses, as people realize there could be a tectonic shift, it is worth it.” Norquist adds that although Americans for Tax Reform doesn’t frequently endorse, Long was “so strong” on taxes that she “kind of required it.”
Long, who has already captured the Conservative-party nomination, itself a testament to her soundness, has quite the impressive résumé: Dartmouth graduate, clerk to Clarence Thomas, successful attorney, and mother of two. She has never run for political office before, and describes herself as a “lifelong, consistent Reagan conservative.”
Long has argued that she has another quality that could shift the general in her favor: She is a woman. “Once we get past the June 26th primary, we will be the only race in the country pitting a Democratic woman against a Republican woman,” Long points out. That, she holds, should disarm “War on Women”–style identity politics and let her focus on stark contrasts on policy.
With all this in mind, Long says she will move to the forefront of New York politics: “We are going to make some new Republicans this cycle.”
For his part, Turner argues that only he can beat Gillibrand: “I do not think there is anyone but me who can do this.” He says the fact that he already has pulled off an upset in New York, along with his roots in the business community and his strength in key demographics, uniquely positions him for November.
What do the pollsters think? “[The] gap is huge, but things happen. No one thought Schumer was going to win,” says Mickey Carroll of Quinnipiac. “On paper, Gillibrand looks unbeatable at this point. But we don’t win elections on paper. . . . Anything can happen,” adds Siena’s Steve Greenberg.
Gillibrand’s most obvious advantages may turn into liabilities. First, her name-recognition advantage likely inflates her poll numbers. Second, her evolution from a moderate congresswoman into America’s most liberal senator (according to National Journal) should weaken her support in upstate New York; her NRA rating plummeted from an A to an F with her promotion. Lastly, Obama’s falling support in the Jewish community may trickle down the ticket.
The race, by universal acknowledgment, will be difficult. But an upset could just happen for the right candidate.
— Harry Graver is an editorial intern for National Review.
I suppose that if the stars aligned in the perfect formation, Bob Turner could pull this off.
David Duke endorses leading New York Democrat Charles Barron!
FReepmail me if you want on or off my New York ping list.
P.S. Charles Barron is a major league racist. If he gets in Congress, his voters won't look good.
what a stooopid cow...
Wendy is no relation to Mike Long
It does make for a nice, entertaining “what-if” scenario, anyway. Kind of like winning the lottery.
I can’t believe that NR ran an article about the NY Senate election that didn’t even mention how if Turner beats Long in the primary she’ll still be on the GE ballot as the Conservative Party nominee, making Turner’s chances go from slim to none. CP President Michael Long hand-picked Wendy Long as the CP nominee (instead of letting primary voters decide) long before the GOP primary field was even set, which are his typical strong-arm tactics to try to blackmail GOP primary voters to nominate his preferred candidate or else allow the conservative vote to get split. And Michael Long doesn’t always pick the most conservative candidate: he hand-picked Rick Lazio over Tom Golisano in 2010. Conservatives railed against Long for allowing the vote to be split, but the CP was saved the embarrassment of getting under 5% in the gubernatorial race and being nothing but a spoiler party because Lazio agreed to be nominated for an unwinnable judicial race, which was the only way save moving out of state to be able to vacate the nomination and allow allow the CP to nominate Golisano.
Nothing against Wendy Long, but Bob Turner is just as conservative as she is, and he was willing to run in NY-09 earlier this year. Why should Michael Long get to trump the will of Republican primary voters? I hope that Turner wins just so Michael Long gets knocked down a couple more pegs and has to put his tail between his legs again and ask Wendy Long to move to New Jersey or something.
Thanks for the correction, Mayor.
This story agrees. I didn't remember correctly.
Maybe I saw something to the effect that Mike Long picked Wendy, and I assumed this was nepotism.
Thanks for the pings!
>> Why should Michael Long get to trump the will of Republican primary voters?
Cuz he’s a typical, establishment jackass?
Pataki was going to win because he was the Cuomo alternative, Cuomo had turned from arrogant to even beyond NY arrogant, self-centered, and acted like he couldn't lose as he was God's gift to NY. He spent like Obama. Even NYer’s drew the line at that back then. I think that's why Cuomo JR plays it humble. Schumer set himself up as the champion of the little guy and some how kept his pompous, know it all self under raps until he got himself well established in the Democrat party and all their state party tentacles that reach all over the state. He painted D’Amato as out-of-touch and promised to represent all New Yorkers and Al's final Senate campaign lacked any enthusiasm. New Yorkers fell for Schumers act and we got stuck with him.
“But New York does have a history of interesting statewide upsets Chuck Schumer over Al DAmato”
‘interesting’ is not the word I would use for the election of Chuckee “Where’s the nearest microphone?” Schumer. I would use another word, one I couldn’t post without violating FR’s no profanity rules. :-)
Turner will win the primary and then get clobbered unless Dems stay home in droves. The only reason an upset could occur is that if enough Bama voters split their tickets and if Dems are so tired of Bama, they also just do not vote. Liberal bastions like NY are pits of .............
Has anyone ever watched Gillibrand speak in the Senate?
She is a lightweight twit who sounds like a giddy high school girl reading a speech to classmates, which speech was written by someone else and she was told, honey, go out there and SELL IT!
Whoever gets the nomination, run clips of her coming across like this, then run the contrast with credible sounding clips from the alternative.
Be sure to mention that she is Chuck Schumer’s wind up doll.
I wonder if Turner gets the nominaion will Wendy Long continue on, on the Conservative Party line?
I hope not.
The link in comment# 8 says I was mistaken.
We have no chance in this race.
Turner is the most credible candidate therefore I back Turner.
And I’m with you that piece of crap Michael Long can go straight to hell.
NY law is pretty silly for not allowing someone to give up a nomination.
Republican US Senate Candidate Wendy Long said this morning on Fred Dickers radio show on Talk 1300 AM that she would support the GOP nominee for US Senate after being asked repeatedly by Dicker.
The first few times she was asked, Long insisted that she was fully confident that she would be the nominee. She said the same thing to Capital Tonight when we interviewed her last week.
When pressed on what she would do if she lost the primary, she eventually said, I will support the GOP nominee though she never wavered on her insistence that she will win on June 26.
Long has already secured the Conservative Partys backing in the race. If she lost the GOP nomination but continued to run as a conservative, with a different candidate on the GOP line, shed likely split the vote and end up killing any chance for the Republicans to defeat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Long is an attorney though, and if she lost the GOP primary, the Conservative party could nominate her for a judge race, freeing up the conservative line for the GOP winner.