Pieces Fall Into Place To Give Gianaris Chance For A-G Post In 2006 I on politics
United States Senator Charles Schumer’s announcement recently that his future would be in the Senate, rather than planning to run for governor of New York state, not only cleared the way for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to seek the governorship with little apparent opposition from other Democrats, but also provided the opportunity for Assemblymember Michael Gianaris to pursue his plan to seek the state attorney general post.
Gianaris, who was just elected to a third term, had expressed his intention to run for the position if Spitzer gave it up to run for governor. After Schumer announced he would follow a Senate career, although there was much speculation he might run for governor in 2006, Spitzer had a clear shot at the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and opened the way for Gianaris to try to become the state’s top legal official.
From where we sit, the Astoria-born 34-year-old attorney makes a very credible candidate for statewide office. In his first two terms in the Assembly, he has authored several significant laws related to cleaner electrical power and anti-terror security. It’s noteworthy too that he was able to get those laws passed by the Republican-controlled state senate and signed into law by Republican Governor George Pataki.
Gianaris should also have little trouble gathering the Democratic Party support he would need to conduct a successful statewide campaign and raise realistic sums of money to finance it. He cut his political teeth with the powerful Taminent Regular Democratic organization, which is as good a starting point as any to build a successful campaign for public office. We look forward to an interesting campaign.
HILLARY vs. POWELL: U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D–New York) has announced her intention to seek a second six-year term in 2006. It would be a political junkie’s dream to see U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell opposing her on the Republican line. We’ll have to wait to see how this develops, but at present the lame duck Secretary of State doesn’t seem to be champing at the bit to go after Hillary.
Powell would bring great potential to the race. He’s a former Army general and headed the country’s defense network as well as holding his most recent globe-trotting job. However, he would have a lot of learning to do about local issues to get through a campaign for elective office, as well as deal with the day-to-day campaigning. We think these two latter points dealing with the basics of running for office would dissuade Powell from considering a Senate campaign.
As for Hillary Clinton, her decision to run and win would set her up to run for president of the United States in 2008, as many believe she will.
In the Senate re-election bid the only really troublesome opponent she might draw is former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, he has given no indications that he’s ready to take on Clinton in the senate race. If Giuliani decides to sit it out, we think Clinton would have winning a second term fairly easy. It’s for certain we don’t see Pataki giving her any real opposition, should he decide not to seek election and make a Senate run instead. In any case, we see Pataki as a very weak candidate, what with the state legislature, including the Republican senate, running roughshod over him on budgets and other legislation.
WEINER GETS CLOSER: It’s already abundantly clear that Congressmember Anthony Weiner plans to run for mayor next year. He all but formally announced it last week as he disclosed he has put a campaign team together to pursue his goal.
On Sunday, he leveled more criticism at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pet project, the football stadium on Manhattan’s West Side, charging that the city is likely to get stuck paying $267 million more for the project because of cost overruns.
The Queens/Brooklyn lawmaker, who resides in Queens, would have to step up his fundraising pace to improve his chances of winning the Democratic Party nomination and getting the opportunity to oppose Bloomberg in the general election. Then would come the hard part, raising a bankroll to give him a realistic chance against the billionaire mayor who’s likely to spend $100 million to get re-elected.
But the 40-year-old Weiner is full of youthful enthusiasm and loads of spunk and can make clever use of issues to carry out his objectives. He’ll mount an interesting campaign.
His main opposition apparently will come from fellow Democrat Fernando Ferrer, the clear frontrunner who will also have to overcome a serious funding disadvantage running against Bloomberg’s millions. However, the early polls have consistently placed the former Bronx borough president ahead of Bloomberg and he appears to have as excellent chance to unseat the mayor.
MAYOR HIT ON FOOD STAMPS: As tempting a target as he is these days, the mayor took another hit over the weekend from another possible election foe, Council Speaker Gifford Miller, who was joined by Councilmember Eric Gioia of Long Island City.
The subject was the administration’s handling of federal Food Stamp benefits, found to be wanting according to an investigation conducted by Gioia’s Committee on Oversight and Investigation. In a survey of 36 Food Stamp offices, Gioia’s investigators found at more than half (26), it was difficult to get an application or information. There were also bureaucratic delays. Committee hearings are planned to find ways to remove the impediments and improve the program.
ACKERMAN REPLACES CROWLEY: Congressmember Gary Ackerman (D–Bayside) has been elected by House Democrats to chair the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans. He replaces Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx), who held the post for the past two years. Ackerman held the position previously.
SEE COUNCIL OK FOR VALLONE BILL: The City Council was expected to approve Councilmember Peter Vallone’s resolution allowing the city to set its own standards for training private industry security officers watching private buildings. The legislation, which was due to come up yesterday, before the Gazette went to press, would recognize that New York City is a major potential terror target and that training standards must recognize the city’s heightened security needs.