New York: Gillibrand’s State Party Support Targeted

Posted March 16, 2009 at 6:30pm

Ten Democratic Members of the Empire State Congressional delegation have written to the state Democratic chairwoman, June O’Neill, urging her not to endorse Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) or devote any of the state party’s resources to aiding the newly appointed Senator anytime soon.

Five of the 10 House Members who signed the letter — Reps. Steve Israel, Carolyn Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy, Jerrold Nadler and José Serrano — are all pondering challenging Gillibrand in next year’s Democratic primary.

According to the New York Post, which first reported the letter, the Members are afraid that an early endorsement by O’Neill could affect the outcome of next year’s state Democratic convention, which is a prelude to the statewide primary.

At the convention, candidates are automatically allowed on the primary ballot if they secure a certain designated percentage of the convention delegates’ vote and must petition their way onto the ballot if they fall short of that figure. The candidate who gets the most votes at the convention is the officially designated candidate of the state party — though that status does not guarantee a primary victory.

The home page of the state party’s Web site currently features a picture of Gillibrand and O’Neill together with a headline that says, “N.Y. Democrats Welcome Our New U.S. Senator.—