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Pataki For U.S. Senate?

by on February 19, 2009

An AP source says that former Governor Pataki has been approached about running for the U.S. Senate in 2010:

The head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee approached former Gov. George Pataki this week about running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, according to a person who spoke to Pataki about the private meeting.

The person confirmed Tuesday’s meeting in New York City between Pataki and Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who heads the party’s national senate campaign committee. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to comment. Pataki, now in private law practice, hasn’t yet accepted or rejected the idea, the person said. The race would be against Kirsten Gillibrand, who was recently appointed to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton when she became Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

Pataki didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment at his law office. Cornyn’s office referred questions to the committee, which didn’t immediately comment.

Rep. Peter King has already expressed interest in running.

On the surface, Pataki seems like a viable candidate.

The 63-year-old Pataki is a Republican who won three terms in the blue state, beating Democratic icon Mario Cuomo in 1994, still considered one of the nation’s biggest GOP upsets. Pataki served as a moderate Republican, strong on environmental policy and who was credited early in his tenure for turning around state finances and the economy.

He grew up in the lower Hudson Valley, lived in Manhattan as a young lawyer, and bought a home in the Adirondacks.

He never lost a race for elected office and was skilled at beating incumbents.

“You’re talking about a Republican who has won statewide in New York three times and in the last 30 years, only (Sen.) Al D’Amato and George Pataki can say that,” said Steven Greenberg of the Siena College poll “Given that there are so many statewide offices up next year, and not a lot of Republicans who have the stature, the fundraising ability and the prominence statewide, certainly George Pataki would be a formidable candidate.”

Assuming Gillibrand remains the Democrat nominee, and, as the political climate in 2010 appears on the verge of being a very good one for the GOP, Pataki may very well be able to win.

UPDATE: Buffalo Pundit mocks the idea as a sign of desperation of the state GOP…

I cannot stress how apt it is for the state Republicans to be so rudderless that they can only look backward to 90s-era glory days. Gotta run someone for Governor? How about damaged goods Rudy Giuliani? Gotta run someone for Senator? How about damaged goods George Pataki.

Sounds more like veiled fear to me. Pataki is hardly a 90’s era retread. He left office only a couple years ago. This isn’t like back in 2002 when the Democrats ran Walter Mondale for the US Senate in Minnesota after Paul Wellstone’s death. And then there is Frank Lautenberg, being brought out of a 2-year retirement, to run for the US Senate after Robert Torricelli withdrew.

If the object is to win, then putting up a candidate who has won statewide office before is actually nat a bad idea. Pataki may not be an ideal Republican, but he’s worlds better than any Democrat beholden to the Democrat leadership.

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