Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

In an e-mail pitch sent out to the "grassroots" this morning, Sen. Chuck Schumer is asking New Yorkers to chip in $5 to help Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand collect $100,000 by the end of the year -- "to keep Kirsten's strong, progressive voice in the U.S. Senate."

Schumer has hosted fundraisers seeking cash from big donors for Gillibrand before, but this is the first e-mail he has sent out to try to raise money from small donors, a la Barack Obama's famously successful internet fundraising in his presidential campaign.

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In the pitch he sent out today, Schumer says New Yorkers' "high expectations" for a senator have been met by Gillibrand, the former Blue Dog upstate congresswoman appointed by Gov. David Paterson in January to take the place of Hillary Rodham Clinton after she left to become secretary of state.

"Kirsten has taken the lead in the Senate on issues New Yorkers care about - from providing health care coverage to all Americans to protecting our children from gun violence. She's working hard to find ways to create more jobs in this struggling economy, and she's been at the forefront of putting a stop to the Stupak Amendment," he writes.

The Schumer e-mail also in effect dismisses the Democratic primary challenge of labor activist Jonathan Tasini or any other would-be candidates such as William Thompson, focusing fully on the Republican hunt for a candidate to run against Gillibrand.

"Let's tell the Republicans that Kirsten is no easy target," the e-mail says. "By contributing today, you'll show them that Kirsten has the strong grassroots support she needs to beat back their challenge and maintain the Democratic majority in the Senate."

It will be interesting to watch how the "grassroots" reacts, given that many New Yorkers tell pollsters they still don't recognize her name or know who she is.

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