Incumbent senators expected to cruise to wins in New York

An undated file photo of Sen. Chuck Schumer.

An undated file photo of Sen. Chuck Schumer. (Oct. 21, 2011) (Credit: Getty Images)

The Democrat incumbents are all but shoo-ins for the U.S. Senate races in New York, but Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer will have plenty to tackle in Washington, especially as part of a party that’s clinging on to power.

Schumer is poised to replace Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as the party’s boss if the Nevadan loses his re-election bid to Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, as polls indicate he might.

“He could be majority or minority leader, depending on how the Democrats do in the Senate,” said Quinnipiac University pollster Mickey Carroll. “Given his history, he’d be a good leader. He’s a very pragmatic and hard-working guy. He’s a little press hungry, but he delivers.”

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin also would be in the running to lead the Senate Democrats if Reid is ousted, Carroll said.

Beyond that, Nov. 2 is likely to be predictable for New Yorkers, Carroll said. “The races are over in New York. Gillibrand is home free. Schumer is home free. Cuomo is home free.”

Schumer, seeking his third term, was outpacing Jay Townsend, a Republican businessman from Cornwell-on-Hudson, by 40 points, according to the latest New York Times poll.

Gillibrand, appointed by Gov. David Paterson in a controversial effort to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat in January 2009, was about 25 points ahead of the GOP’s Joe DioGuardi, a former U.S. Representative from New York, by the Times poll. They face off in a special election.

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Kirsten Gillibrand, 43, Democrat
On the issues:
* Was a gun rights advocate, but has adjusted to anti-gun position to represent downstate voters; endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
* Lists job creation as her top priority. She hopes to accomplish that by “cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses, ending big tax breaks to big corporations that ship our jobs overseas and rewarding businesses that create jobs here so we can finally see ‘Made in America’ again,” Gillibrand told amNewYork through a spokesman.
* Wants to eliminate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy on gay personnel.
Did you know?
* Gillibrand, a married mother of two who lives in Hudson, has lost 40 pounds and is No. 3 on The Hill’s latest “Most Beautiful” list.

vs.

Joe DioGuardi, 70, Republican
On the issues:
* On health care, wants government to eliminate anti-trust exemption for insurance companies, but doesn’t support health care bill.
* Is anti-abortion and was endorsed by the New York Right to Life Committee.
* As an accountant, wants balanced budgets to be first on agenda.
Did you know?
* The Westchester native, who remarried after his first wife died, is ex-“American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi’s father.

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Chuck Schumer, 60, Democrat
On the issues:
* Wants to limit regulation of Wall Street’s financial institutions.
* As a gun-control advocate, he unsuccessfully pushed for an extension of the assault-weapons ban.
* Supports the legalization of gay marriage.
Did you know?
* The married father of two from Brooklyn makes it a point to visit each of the state’s 62 counties each year.

vs.

Jay Townsend, 55, Republican
On the issues:
* Wants to reform federal tax code to win cash back to the state. “If we could get just one year’s worth back, we could balance the state budget and fix the mass-transit system,” Townsend told amNewYork. “Any senator who could fix that would forever make New York a healthy state,” he said, hinting at his expected loss to Schumer.
* Wants to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.
* Supports the Tea Party movement, calling it a “good dose of reality.”
Did you know?
* Townsend, married with three children, is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News shows.

Tags: news , politics

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