* EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m having one of those Alice in Wonderland moments after reading Elizabeth Benjamin’s NY Daily News column in which she reports that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now Senator Kirsten Gillbrand’s new BFF. (Um…WTF?)
Here’s the story:
Gillibrand Pitches The WFP, Appears With RFK Jr.
April 20, 2009
The latest stops on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s “I love the left” tour: A meeting with Working Families Party leaders and a press conference with the son of the man whose Senate seat she now holds, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The state’s junior senator met this morning with members of the labor-backed party’s executive committee, a WFP spokesman confirmed. The con-fab took place at the downtown HQ of the CWA, whose political director, Bob Master, is a WFP co-chair.
“We want to start working together on the big issues facing working people – Green jobs, healthcare, and campaign finance and immigration reform. Now more than ever, New York needs a progressive champion,” said WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor. “We hope Senator Gillibrand can be that.”
The meeting was strictly informational since it’s far too early to discuss endorsements for the 2010 cycle. (The party hasn’t even picked a mayoral candidate yet).
But there’s no doubt Gillibrand would surely love to land the WFP’s support next fall – particularly if she ends up facing a primary challenge from one or more of the Democratic House members currently circling her.
The WFP would be the ultimate validator of the liberal credentials Gillibrand is now striving so hard to polish up. She wouldn’t have the party’s line in a Democratic primary, but, thanks to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s legal skills and a 2006 court decision, the WFP could put its crack field operation to work on her behalf.
The WFP has a long-standing relationship with one of Gillibrand’s potential primary rivals: Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
The party worked on Stringer’s behalf during the 2005 Democratic BP primary, which led to a complaint by his opponent, then-Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz. The CFB ultimately sided with Stringer and the WFP.
Gillibrand has her work cut out for her, according to today’s Siena NY poll. Her favorable/unfavorable rating is slowly tilting in her favor (33-23 compared to 26-20 last month), but 47 percent of New Yorkers polled this month said they’d prefer someone else be elected to Hillary Clinton’s old US Senate seat compared to 37 percent in March.
Also today, Gillibrand appeared with RFK Jr., an environmental lawyer and vice chair of Riverkeeper, who was briefly touted as a potential as a contender for the Senate seat once held by his father.
RFK Jr. ultimately withdrew his name from consideration and threw his support to his cousin, Caroline Kennedy, who was passed over by Gov. David Paterson in favor of Gillibrand.
Gillibrand and RFK Jr. held a press conference at the South Street Seaport along with students from the Urban Assembly New York Habor School to call ofr federal investment in environmental education.