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How Big a Wave?

Once-safe Democrats are becoming vulnerable, New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand among them.

Oct 18, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 05 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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That’s not unheard of: Republican George Pataki won 38 percent of the city vote in 2002. Trende argues, somewhat convincingly, that DioGuardi’s Italian-American heritage will serve him well in the ethnic enclaves of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, where white voters have been willing to vote Republican in the past. If New York City’s black voters don’t turn out as they did in 2006 and 2008, DioGuardi has a chance to perform respectably in the city, where his winning even 30 percent will make Gillibrand uncomfortable on Election Night.

And then there are the suburbs. The off-year elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts all featured suburban voters revolting against Democratic candidates. That movement is taking place in New York, too, albeit on a slightly lesser scale. Obama won the three major suburban counties, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk, by margins of +28, +8, and +6, respectively. This year polls show Gillibrand trailing in the suburban counties by anywhere from -4 to -12. If the Republican wave lifts DioGuardi further ahead in the New York suburbs—or the National Republican Senatorial Committee decides to push some money into the race—Gillibrand could well be in trouble.

Joe DioGuardi is still a long-shot candidate. But in this extraordinary year, all kinds of once-safe seats have swung into play. Kirsten Gillibrand’s is one of them.

Jonathan V. Last is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.

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