In 2010 there are a few potentially competitive statewide races in New York. There is the US Senate race with former Blue Dog Democrat turned Obama party shill Kirstin Gillibrand which can be competitive with the right candidate (ex. George Pataki). There is the Governor's race which could be competitive because of the incompetency of the incumbent Governor with nearly any candidate who can resonate with the GOP's base and not scare off independents (ex. Redlich, Lazio). There is potential in the Comptroller's race if a divisive Democratic primary arises and people look to the GOP candidate for independent auditing (ex. candidates Callaghan, Doug Hoffman). But, there's another Statewide race that could be competitive completely under the radar - the US Senate race against Chuck Schumer.
Most outsiders and political pundits are paying close attention to potential challengers to Gillibrand. She appears to be the weakest of the two sitting Senators, recently appointed and not really coming out into her own as of yet. This, many feel, creates an opening for a strong Republican candidate. The problem is that this ignores the election that was scheduled for 2010 and did not happen to arise because of a vacancy.
Chuck Schumer's last election was an electoral mess for the Republicans. The Republican Party picked a State Assemblyman as their nominee with no name recognition and an inability to raise money. The Conservatives, frustrated with the GOP candidate's moderate to left views on fiscal issues, selected their own candidate in physician Marilyn O'Grady. The Republican candidate received 24% of the popular vote, the Conservative received 3%. This does not bode well for 2010 where the liberal juggernaut has an additional term's worth of experience and a bigger warchest than before. I disagree.
While the media is focusing on Gillibrand's election, this leaves Schumer open to continue what he does best - ignore his constituents and posture for a greater leadership position. While Schumer is busy in Washington, this would allow a Republican candidate to lay groundwork, meet with constituents, and begin running a serious campaign for US Senate. Begin by taking out ads in Republican leaning media markets that can bring in big votes like the Albany or Long Island markets. Organize campaign headquarters in each of the State's Congressional districts. Write editorials in major newspapers subtly pointing out the many flaws of New York's senior Senator. What I suggest is a stealth campaign, sneaking up from behind Chucky Schumer..
While the mainstream media focuses all their attention on the junior Senator and the special election, a serious candidate focused on connecting with the people of New York and building their name recognition can sneak up on this liberal giant while he sleeps. The liberal establishment will ignore Schumer's reelection assuming it to be an easy victory. Yet, as Scott Brown's rise in Massachusetts' special election has shown us - nothing can be taken for granted this year. Republicans can be competitive everywhere with an anti-establishment message of fiscal responsibility and restraint. Schumer can be beaten - New York just needs the right person to do it.
Cross posted to Old Line Elephant