Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf is not entirely convinced that Caroline Kennedy, if she is David Paterson’s choice to replace Hillary Clinton, would win when the seat actually comes up for election.
“People have this deluded idea that it’s hard to compete against a Kennedy, they should talk to Kennedy Townsend of Maryland. There is no Kennedy mythology in New York,” Sheinkopf told me while I was reporting a story about Kennedy’s Senate bid in today’s Observer.
“She is going to have to raise $40 million like anyone else — why is it just assumed that she will have $40 million dollars to spend? Why is it presumed that she can just walk in and win? Peter King is going to be tough. I would match a centrist conservative Republican who is a Catholic, from the suburbs of New York, against a Manhattan socialite, and let’s see how she does in Nassau Suffolk and Western New York.”
“What’s her accomplishment?” Sheinkopf continued. “How many jobs did she create in New York? Peter King can make that argument. Tom Suozzi can make that argument. Steve Israel can make that argument.”
In fact, King did make something of that argument in a conversation yesterday.
He said that he would run against Kennedy by emphasizing his deep middle-class roots and by arguing that in tough economic times, New Yorkers needed someone they could “identify with.”
“I have been in Congress for 16 years,” he said. “She has no record at all, not even causes. And there is something about having some kind of divine right to be a senator.”