Schumer, Gillibrand Easily Retain Senate Seats
Two of the night's least-suspenseful races were those for U.S. Senate. NY1’s Political reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
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To listen to his speech, you might not have known Senator Charles Schumer had been in a race. New York's senior senator didn’t so much as mention his Republican opponent, political consultant Jay Townsend, whom Schumer beat by a margin of two to one. In fact, with a huge advantage in just about every way, Schumer never campaigned much at all.
But he did strike a sober tone Tuesday, in the wake of heavy Democratic losses nationwide.
"For too long, we’ve been a nation that consumes more than it produces, that imports more than it exports, that spends more than it saves,” said Schumer.
The question of whether Schumer could replace Harry Reid as Senate majority leader was rendered moot when Reid won a hard-fought race in Nevada. But Schumer said voters sent a message that they believe Washington has forgotten about average citizens.
"It will be the mission of myself, hopefully my party, and both parties in the country, to focus on the middle class like a laser,” he said.
Meanwhile, New York’s junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, once thought to be highly vulnerable, also enjoyed a lopsided win – defeating Republican Joseph DioGuardi, the former Westchester County congressman.
Gillibrand’s speech was more upbeat, citing a broad range of issues, including gay rights.
"That means full marriage equality, and men and women can serve in our military and not be dismissed for who they love,” she vowed.
Appointed senator by Governor David Paterson after Hillary Clinton was tapped for secretary of state, Gillibrand gave her predecessor a shout-out.
"It was Secretary Clinton who first inspired me to enter public service, and I am so thankful to her for her extraordinary leadership,” said Gillibrand.
Gillibrand's race was actually a special election to serve out the final two years of Clinton's term, which means Gillibrand will have to run again in 2012 in order to win a full, six-year term.