Now, Smith Backs Gillibrand

ALBANY—A few days after Representative Steve Israel announced he will not engage in a primary against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is endorsing her.

Gillibrand already has the support of David Paterson, who appointed her to the seat, and of her senior colleague Chuck Schumer. Smith, in other words, isn’t going too far out on a limb by endorsing her now. But the timing is good, coming, as it does, two weeks before the state Democratic committee is set to meet.

Before he announced he was staying in the House, Israel was hoping to declare his candidacy at the meeting, before the organization could formally back Gillibrand. It now appears that the party leadership will make it as easy as possible for the state Democrats to endorse Gillibrand.

Here's the release from Smith:

ALBANY, NY (May 18, 2009) – Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith announced his endorsement of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for the 2010 election today. Four months ago, Kirsten Gillibrand was selected to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and since that time Senator Gillibrand has clearly demonstrated that she is the right choice for New York's future.

"Throughout her career, Kirsten Gillibrand has exhibited the kind of leadership that has yielded results for the people of New York," Majority Leader Smith said. "Senator Gillibrand understands that the hard-working men and women of this state deserve tax relief, quality and affordable health care and every chance to receive the best educational opportunities for their children."

Majority Leader Smith continued, "Her agenda to advance economic development opportunities and revitalize our communities is the kind of vision we need in Washington fighting for us. I have no doubt she will continue to deliver for the people of this state and I look forward to partnering with her, as well as Senator Schumer, Governor Paterson and other legislative leaders as we work to get New York and the nation back on track."

"I am honored to have Majority Leader Smith's endorsement, and I'm grateful for his leadership. Malcolm and I share a strong commitment to turning this economy around and creating well paying jobs all across New York State," said Senator Gillibrand. "Malcolm has also been an effective leader in guiding Democratic victories across the state and I look forward to working together with him to grow our Democratic majority in the State Senate."

Now, Smith Backs Gillibrand