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Democrat in New York Running on Pro-Wall Street Platform

10:10 AM, Jul 9, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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File this away in your "Democrats embodying stereotypes of Republicans" folder, along with pro-impeachment Democrat Kesha Rogers of Texas. In Rep. Carolyn Maloney's Upper East Side district (NY-14), constituents who are employed by Wall Street are none too happy with the rhetoric out of Washington, and some are turning to a young hedge fund alumna who vows to "extend a hand rather than a fist" to Wall Street:

Since she entered the race in November, Saujani has received more than $800,000 in campaign contributions, an impressive tally for an untested candidate. Many of those checks came from New York financiers and their spouses.

Former Morgan Stanley chief executive John Mack has given her money. So has Apollo Management founder Leon Black and the wife of J.P. Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon. Hedge fund mogul Marc Lasry hosted a fundraiser for her featuring singer John Legend that brought in $100,000.

Saujani has also attracted help from prominent New Yorkers. Maureen White, a major Democratic donor and wife of financier Steven Rattner, is introducing her to potential donors. Diana Taylor, a Republican former investment banker and the longtime companion of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), is advising her campaign.

Right now, Saujani runs far behind the comfortable Maloney, but says she's attracting support from young people and the tech community. Luckily, the district is full of rich, white liberals who probably won't punish a Democrat for blithely using the n-word on the radio last year (speaking of Democrats embodying Republican stereotypes).

Saujani:

"Populism for the sake of populism, to increase poll numbers, is not helpful," she said. "We need to have people in Washington who feel comfortable with understanding regulatory markets, economic terms. . . . I don't think that she has practical real-world experience."

I'm rooting for her partly because she sounds like she has a modicum of common sense, and partly for the comedic value of having the Democrats' 2010 stable include the most vocally pro-impeachment candidate and the most vocally pro-Wall Street candidate of the year. By their own definition, I think that might make the Democratic slate of candidates more "Republican" than the Republicans.

The Democratic primary is Sept. 14. Here she is facing off with Chris Matthews on "Hardball" this week. Unsurprisingly, she comes off looking sympathetic and pleasant with Matthews barking at her, and she didn't say the n-word, so there's that.

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