Monday, April 6, 2009

How Caroline McCarthy can be NY's Next Senator

With a tremendous uproar in New York politics that began with Hillary Clinton leaving the Senate, some Democrats alienated some voters. That main man is legally blind Governor David Paterson. He caused the problems with one little choice. Caroline Kennedy voiced that she wanted Hillary's Senate seat. The Kennedy family voiced their support for her. Obama said he wanted Caroline to fill Hillary's seat. Even though Obama was president elect, David Paterson defied him and went with the New York political system. He followed Congressman Gary Ackerman who said Caroline Kennedy is like Sarah Palin. Paterson listened to Ackerman because they are part of a political system in New York that lasted for more than 100 years. He did not appease Ackerman completely. Paterson appointed Kristin Gillibrand from Upstate New York. Paterson may have wanted a woman to replace Hillary. He wanted a woman from Upstate so he could appeal to voters there. Unfortunately for him, Upstate New York casts about 1/3 of the votes in New York State, compared to 2/3 in the New York metropolitin area. Not only does Paterson have the voters angry with him (he was down double digits to Giuliani in a recent poll,) he has countless politicians angry with him. He has the Kennedys angry with him. Obama is not pleased so Paterson cannot count on a job in the administration. Now that he may have cost the Democrats a House seat, Pelosi is angry with him. Paterson has a poor future but what is more interesting is Gillibrand's future. She is a young popular politician. What is wrong with that? In New York, experienced politicians from the city are more popular. She is pro Second Amendment, therefore alienating voters in pro gun control New York City and suburbs. To add to her woes, she has two strong competitors. Carolyn McCarthy and Caroline Maloney. They are both from downstate and are well liked in the New York political system. They are both very strong candidates with a great chance of winning. This race can easily slip and slide but in my opinion, McCarthy will win the primary. Here is why:

Carolyn McCarthy, the Congresswoman from the 4th district will probably be the next Senator. She is from Nassau County on Long Island and is a leading advocate for gun control. She has supported child locks on guns and strengthened laws to stop mentally ill people from purchasing guns. She can boast about her gun control policy to win New York voters. If she were the only candidate from the New York area, she would beat Gillibrand. With Maloney in the race, McCarthy has to try to win the New York area vote. She can win Long Island easily, it is her home base. She can probably win Staten Island, it is filled with Catholics and public safety officers. McCarthy is Irish Catholic, like Gillibrand. Since Gillibrand is not from the New York City area, she will not do well with Irish Catholics there. McCarthy is well suited to win Brooklyn and Queens. She can win all the Irish Catholics there. Minority and Jewish voters will be the swing group between McCarthy and Maloney. Both candidates are pro Israel but it is not a signiture issue for both. McCarthy does not include her stance on Israel on her website. Maloney is a bit more vocal about her support for Israel. Since Jewish voters in Brooklyn and Queens may feel more close to a Long Island person than an East Side representative, they may lean slightly toward McCarthy. The gun control issue may help her with that. McCarthy will campaign as the tough on guns candidate (The reason she ran is that Gillibrand is pro gun.) Maloney can probably win the Manhattan and Westchester Jewish vote so overall, their vote will be split. Minorities will be key in this race. No candidate has portrayed herself as an advocate for them. McCarthy could do well with them because she can portray herself as a supporter of working class families with low income. Most minorities in New York have low incomes so they might like her. However, the minorities have no real candidate they can truly back and might drift between candidates or split close to 50-50. Overall, McCarthy's strategy and winning formula is to sweep the Island, win big among Catholic and Jewish voters in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island as well as doing well with Upstate Catholics in making inroads in Upstate cities because she is tough on crime.

Kristen Gillibrand, the current U.S Senator from New York will have to work very hard to defend herself. It is very possible for her to win because she is from Upstate. While Maloney and McCarthy battle it out, Gillibrand sweeps Upstate and comes out with a victory. Now here are some key facts about Upstate: It generally has higher turnout in the general election than New York City and even Long Island. It votes less Democratic than the New York City area so overall, it will equal out to 1/3 of the primary vote. Gillibrand is so popular there that she may generate higher turnout there. It may not be cancelled about by New York area turnout because some groups such as minorities and Jews may not be inspired by the candidates because none of them really represent these groups. Gillibrand will probably win Upstate Catholics easily but if she does poorly, McCarthy will make some inroads among them. Again, Upstate cities such as Buffalo and Rochester may become competitive. Maloney and McCarthy could both make inroads there, even though McCarthy will be painted as only a candidate for the Island. Those cities are not right next to Gillibrand's home base of the Hudson valley but they will probably support her because she stands for Upstate issues. If the other candidates portray her as a candidate for rural issues only, the state comes into play. Actually, she does support alot of issues that are popular in the city and looking at her stands on the issues, she seems to be a New York area politician instead of a rural Upstate politician. She is a big supporter of the police force and does support gun control. The other candidates will almost certainly smear her as the pro gun candidate and she will have to prove she is pro gun control. She will not alienate enough pro gun rural voters because they will support her anyway and it will not stifle turnout as much. Gillibrand has one way where she can certainly win. She MUST make inroads in the New York area. It will be difficult for her to win the upscale and minority votes so she must try to win working class Irish Catholics. That is exactly her background and the Irish Catholics may like that. Most of the New York City ones will probably support McCarthy. If Gillibrand does very well, she might be able to gain votes among them. With minority voters, they mostly live in the city so they will probably not be attracted to Gillibrand. They may view her as out of touch with their issues. Even if the other candidates do not appeal to minorities, they are from the New York area so they will probably win the minority vote. Even though Gillibrand is pro Israel, it is not a signiture issue for her so that would probably not be enough to attract them. Overall, Gillibrand can win if there is high turnout in Upstate, she sweeps Upstate cities and she can make a few inroads in one New York area group such as Irish Catholics.

Caroline Maloney, the Congresswoman from New York's 14th Congressional district faces a very hard primary election. She is the candidate with the smallest chance of winning but since this race will be so close, she still has a very good shot. She is the only candidate who is not Irish Catholic, she is Protestant. Religion will probably not be a big role for her because she is not very religious. Her base is Manhattan and western Queens. Manhattan has about 5% of the state's population but casts about 10% of the votes for Democrats, not far from the 14% in Long Island which has almost double the population of Manhattan. That will be a big boost for Maloney. She will probably win the Bronx even though it is filled with the minority swing voters. Maloney's other base will be Westchester County. Since she represents the part of the New York area not part of the Island, she can probably win or come close to winning the outer New York suburbs such as Rockland County. The swing district for Gillibrand and Maloney is the New York 19th Congressional District. It contains the outer suburbs. As for minorities, Maloney will probably do well with ones near her district. If she can paint McCarthy as a suburban candidate, Maloney may even win minorities in Queens and Brooklyn. Even though Maloney is pro gun control like the other candidates, she will lose those voters to McCarthy. Maloney could even do well in western Queens because her district contains part of Queens. Maloney's demographic base is the rich voters and she needs to expand to other voters. She is doing that already by traveling to Upstate to attempt to win voters up there. Most voters there are working class but since she is urban, she has a shot at making inroads in Upstate cities. Overall, if Maloney can win, she will do win the outer suburbs, pile up high margins in Manhattan, come close to winning Queens and do well enough in Upstate cities.

This New York race is shaping to be a different New York race than usual. A usual race is when the New York politicians support one candidate who easily wins because of their support. This is different and all three candidates have reasons to be supported by New York politicians. Maloney has the best reason because she is from the city. McCarthy is from the suburbs. Gillibrand has the worst reason and it is because Paterson liked her. Even though Paterson is popular with some New York politicians, they may rather support somene from the area, not just somene Paterson likes. The demographics that already have a catergory are rich voters, Upstate voters and Irish Catholics in the New York area. The swing voters are minority voters as a whole and Jewish voters. Maloney would appear to win them because of her centralized location in the city. McCarthy looks set to win them because of her working class background. McCarthy looks poised to win because of her prevalence in the Island boroughs and the Island. If the race went the way I predicted, she would win by a couple of points but it could easily shift. Overall, this race will be filled with many twists and turns with unexpected shifts in support from demographics. It will be one of the biggest primaries in a long time and could truly be the battle between Upstate, the Island and the city.