Fred Dicker had a report this morning that former Comptroller candidate Harry Wilson is being talked about by GOP insiders as a possible challenger to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Mr. Wilson would be a very attractive candidate, and after his near-knock-off of incumbent Democratic comptroller Tom DiNapoli in 2010, he is widely considered to be one likely Republicans to end the Democrats 10-year stranglehold on statewide offices.
Last month, we wrote about how even though Republicans think that Ms. Gillibrand could potentially, maybe, be vulnerable to a serious challenge, they are now reconciling themselves to the likelihood that Nassau County comptroller George Maragos will be the eventual nominee. Mr. Maragos has been out campaigning for several months now, is the only candidate out there and is able to partially self-fund.
The only problem with Mr. Maragos is that he is largely unknown statewide, lacks charisma on the stump and has basically been running for this seat despite serving in his current job for less than two years.
Even Democrats close to Ms. Gillibrand acknowledge that Mr. Wilson is probably the most dangerous Republican in the state to the junior senator’s chances of winning her first full term. He has proven statewide appeal. The editorial boards like him, as does Mayor Mike Bloomberg. But few expect him to actually take the jump. For one thing, people close to him say that he hasn’t shown much interest in actually serving in the U.S. Senate. For another, he recently took a gig as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, an independent federal agency responsible for insuring benefits under private defined benefit pension plans and for allowing individuals to search for lost pensions.
This job follows a previous appointment as a member of President Obama’s automobile industry restructuring task force, which leads us to another problem with a potential Wilson candidacy–his close ties to the current administration in Washington would make him unpalatable to certain segments of the Republican establishment.
The Politicker called around to several Wilson associates, and they said that while they were not surprised that he is being mentioned as a possible candidate, he has given no indication that he is considering a run.