Both New York senators have expressed support for David Paterson, who gave a forceful speech in Harlem defending his record this weekend, in an attempt to dispense with the idea that he’s vulnerable in next year’s election.
At the annual fund-raiser for the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, held in Riverdale Sunday night, I asked Chuck Schumer what he thinks about the fact that Paterson already has already had to talk about his re-election prospects.
“I started running against D’Amato that long [before the election],” Schumer said, referring to former senator Al D’Amato, who Schumer unseated in 1999.
Schumer was making a point about how early statewide races sometimes begin, but the similarity between the two situations ends there. Schumer was a long-shot trying to unseat a popular incumbent who had been in office since 1981.
Paterson, on the other hand, is the incumbent.
Also in the Bronx Sunday night was Kirsten Gillibrand. In a brief interview, she said she thinks Paterson “has done an extraordinary job” in facing “the greatest challenges we have today. We have the worst budget, certainly any of us have ever experienced in our lives, and he’s at the forefront of making tough decisions about how to manage those finances.”
Since Andrew Cuomo is considered the most likely challenge in the gubernatorial primary, I asked Gillibrand who she would prefer at the top of the ticket, since she’ll be running in 2010 for election to the Senate for the first time.
“Those kind of politics will take care of themselves,” Gillibrand said, adding that she “entirely” supports Paterson. “I’m going to keep supporting him,” she said.