Just two weeks ago I wrote that Liz Feld was one of the winners coming out of the Rob Astorino defeat of Andy Spano in Westchester: But I thought this would lead Feld to a rematch against 25 year incumbent Suzi Oppenheimer. In 2010 there will be no Obama coat-tails - that coupled with the growing abhorrence of the NYS Senate by most New Yorkers, I thought that Feld stood a much better chance of taking down Oppenheimer in 2010 than in 2008. But with her statement that she's considering a run for the US Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand, Feld is apparently feeling her oats -- and perhaps believes that the Astorino win in Westchester can carry her to DC. If Rudy (Hamlet) Giuliani ultimately decides to run for Gillibrand's seat (having opted not to run for Gov), Feld could drop back and mount a re-run against Oppenheimer.
Although Gillibrand's poll numbers are low, no one should ever count her out of anything -- she's smart, savvy and resilient. There's not a huge difference between Feld and Gillibrand ideologically -- and while Republicans are likely to make inroads in House and Senate races in 2010 -- Gillbrand will be tough to beat -- particularly when you paint whatever Republican runs in New York with the broad brush of the national GOP -- which is now being lead by wackos like Palin, Bachmann, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck. As for the rumor that former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford may mount a primary bid for Gillibrand's seat, I find that absurd. Any primary opposition to Gillibrand will likely come from her left flank, and Ford -- who just barely lost a US Senate race in Tennessee in 2006 -- is more in sync with her than not ideologically (right now Ford heads the centrist Democratic Leadership Council). Obama and Schumer will ensure that Ford doesn't make the run. But I think the speculation about it is not serious anyway.
There are reports that Bill Thompson may consider a primary challenge to Gillibrand and he may actually pose a more substantial threat to her. Thompson came surprisingly close to defeating Mayor Bloomberg -- but that vote, frankly was less of a vote for Thompson than a vote against Bloomberg's abrogation of term limits. But if Thompson were to challenge Gillibrand in a primary, he'd have strength where Gillibrand is weak -- especially in NYC. Yet Thompson may opt instead to primary Tom DiNapoli for State Comptroller -- and Thompson would likely easily defeat DiNapoli, who was appointed to his job by the State Legislature and has a very weak political base.