How Boring New York Elections Could Change Everything
2:02 PM Nov 19th, 2008 via web
And that’s the last — and only — thing Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has tweeted. The fact that a candidate for the Senate hasn’t used Twitter in almost two years is a tad telling. Most hopefuls for congressional seats utilize the social networking site as a way to communicate directly with supporters and, more importantly, as a way to appeal to younger voters. But Schumer, who has been a member of Congress since 1980, when he was 29, and been in the Senate since 1998, apparently feels he doesn’t need Twitter to win votes. Probably because, unlike many other incumbents this election season, Schumer is expected to win his bid for reelection by a comfortable margin.
In fact, almost all the New York races this season are incredible yawners. While Schumer is leading his opponent 59 to 31 in the polls, Kristen Gillibrand, the senator who replaced Hillary Clinton and is now running in the special election, is up against her challenger 54 to 33. The gubernatorial race is equally predictable (though, it should be said, there are a few colorful characters running in that race), with Andrew Cuomo up against Carl Paladino, 51 to 37.
I could keep spitting out polling numbers, but you get the point: there are no close races in New York this election season, which can be viewed as either good or bad. Good because we don’t have to deal with unpredictability and heavy campaigning, nor do we have the threat of a well-known and generally well-liked incumbent being ousted, which is happening in a number of other states. Bad because, well, it means we can expect little to change in New York. We almost always vote blue, and it looks like that’s going to happen again.
It’s not all a big bore. While the New York candidates may be safe, a lot of their potential colleagues are not — including Democratic Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader from Nevada. Besides the obvious upset that would be caused by the Dems’ leader in the Senate being defeated by a relatively inexperienced Tea Party candidate, this would cause something else to happen — a leadership election to see who will replace Reid. And who is being speculated as one of his probable replacements? Why, none other than New York’s own Chuck Schumer.
Of course, the situation is highly delicate, and neither Schumer nor any other potential candidates for party leadership (such as Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois) have made any obvious moves. Campaigning for the position of party leader in the Senate before the position is actually available would be a suicidal political maneuver, especially if Reid ends up winning his election. But Schumer has apparently been gearing up on the DL, donating money to a number of Democratic campaigns this election season — including that of Reid’s, who is a close friend of Schumer.
Schumer is a native of Brooklyn and is known for his for his savvy and aggressive style. As someone with a long congressional career, it’s not surprising that he’s one of the top contenders to replace Reid. Unfortunately for us, the Senators are staying as quiet about this issue as possible, not wanting to jeopardize themselves before Reid is officially ousted from his seat.
And Schumer isn’t a shoo-in. There’s a possibility that the Democrats will lose their majority in the Senate, or, if they do win, that someone else will be elected to the position. Funnily enough, The New York Times posted an article about Schumer potentially replacing Reid, while the Chicago Tribune posted an article about their own senator, Durbin, possibly becoming party leader.
A lot of things are still up in the air. But, even though the New York elections are basically set in stone, at least we know something exciting might be heading our way — a much greater role for our own senator.