Saturday, September 11, 2010

New York U.S. Senate Race- A

Race of the Day

New York U.S. Senate- A

September 11, 2010
52 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2008 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

On this memorable calender date, Americans look back and reflect upon the tragedy that fell upon our country nine years ago today. The memories can be quite vivid and intense, but we honor those who we lost on that fateful day and hopefully pledge ourselves to a nation where their sacrifice will never be forgotten or minimized and that we work to build a society and indeed a world where such an act of evil might never happen again.

In the years since 2001, democracy and our American system of free elections has of course endured, and has brought cheer and despair to partisans on both sides of the ideological divide. New York was the state that was perhaps hit the hardest by the terrorist attacks, and today is the day to briefly look at one of the Empire State's two races for the U.S. Senate this year. While Republicans are facing a Herculean challenge in any of the big statewide races in New York this year,this one has always been expected to be the least competitive.

Since first being elected to the Senate, and indeed before that during his years in the House of Representatives, Democrat Chuck Schumer has been one of his party's most prolific fundraisers and most adept politicians in finding television cameras. With his former colleague Hillary Rodham Clinton now out of the Senate, Schumer, as New York's senior Senator, is free to build up his profile both at home and on Capitol Hill. His campaign war chest is overflowing and not even New York's two most prominent Republicans, George Pataki or Rudy Giuliani, gave any thought to this particular 2010 race.

This Tuesday will see two Republicans compete for the right to represent the elephant against Schumer in November. Polls show that a large majority of New York Republican primary voters are undecided as to who to pick, so it could truly go either way, as voters may just decide which name sounds better to them. The most recent poll though shows a slight lead for Jay Townsend, a political consultant who was once a trustee at Indiana's Purdue University, over Gary Berntsen, a retired CIA agent, who now runs an investigative agency.

Neither candidate will stand much of a chance at all against Schumer, so in a sense, it really matters little who would win. My personal sense is that Berntsen, with his impressive military and CIA credentials, and gravitas on foreign policy and national security matters, in a state that suffered so much nine years ago, would be the better option. He seems like a pretty tough guy and Chuckie Schumer would probably refuse to even share a debate stage with him.

After he wins his third term in the Senate, this November, Schumer may very well find himself competing for the open position of Leader of the Senate Democrats.

Berntsen campaign link:

2010 U.S. Senate races predicted thus far: 6 D, 17 R
Predicted U.S. Senate Balance of Power thus far: 46 D, 40 R