Gillibrand to Head West for Hochul

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced today at an awards luncheon that she will travel to New York’s 26th Congressional District to help drum up support for Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul.

Gillibrand was the recipient of reproductive rights group NARAL’s annual 2011 Champion of Choice award this afternoon, and she urged women to take a more active role in politics. She invited today’s attendees to join her upstate to raise support for Hochul, who will run on May 24th for the seat vacated by Chris Lee (he of Craigslist fame).

“If you get involved, if you send money, if you literally go up there, the week before the election,” she told the crowd, explaining ways to take action. “I’m going to be there. Will you join me there? Please join me there. Those are things that we can do, together. The Senate is at risk.”

The senator announced her endorsement of Hochul’s candidacy earlier this month. Her Empire PAC donated $1,000 Hochul early in the race, and also sent out a fundraising pitch to the senator’s supporters.

The race has become something of a bellwether for the two parties’ budget plans, which have created a stark split on the question of reforming Medicare. With the race growing increasingly close–a Daily Kos poll today has Hochul up for the first time–both sides are making an aggressive push in the closing weeks.

Speaker John Boehner is upstate today to rally support behind the GOP candidate, Jane Corwin.

Gillibrand emphasized the importance of this election, saying, “If you want to get a House seat, if you want to take back this House, get involved in that race.”

Later, she gave the Observer a ringing endorsement of the congressional candidate.

“It’s a great opportunity for New Yorkers, it’s a great opportunity for the country,” she said. “She’s a fantastic candidate. She’s strong, she’s smart, she’s articulate, she has a vision for the district.”

Gillibrand’s support should bode well for Hochul, if Gloria Steinem’s introduction is any indication. “Like Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm before her, she doesn’t hold her finger to the wind,” Steinem said. “She is the wind.” Gillibrand to Head West for Hochul