ALBANY—Bill Owens has been to two fund-raisers outside his district in the last week.
Last Wednesday, he attended a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C. According to a person who was there, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Joe Crowley, Nita Lowey and Scott Murphy all stopped by. (Senator Chuck Schumer had a scheduling conflict.) The event was headlined by Crowley, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chris Van Hollen and Representative Steve Israel, who is DCCC's principle liaison in New York.
"Whether it's other members of the Congressional delegation in New York when he visited us in Washington or his appearances in New York, he's an extremely impressive," Israel told me by phone. I asked him what he thought of Owens' chances.
"We are realistic, and we've said from day one that this district is notoriously independent. It has not elected a Democrat in that seat since the Civil War," he said. "But President Obama did win it, and this is the quintessential swing district. If bill continues to do what he's done over the past few weeks, then he can win this. And if the Republican and Conservative continue to batter each other, he's got a good shot."
Owens also stopped by Israel's fundraiser on Long Island, where Bill Clinton was the guest of honor. And earlier this month, Owens attended a fundraiser with Vice President Joe Biden in Syracuse, at a law firm known for its union busting actions.