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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand vulnerable in bid for fourth term as NYers say she’s ‘missing in action’: poll

sen.-kirsten-gillibrand-vulnerable-in-bid-for-fourth-term-as-nyers-say-she’s-‘missing-in-action’:-poll
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand vulnerable in bid for fourth term as NYers say she’s ‘missing in action’: poll

Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appears vulnerable as she seeks a fourth term, a survey released Thursday claims.

Only 42% of voters support Gillibrand’s re-election in the deep-blue Empire State, while 42% prefer someone else and 16% were undecided, the Siena College poll found

While 62% of Democratic voters backed Gillibrand’s re-election, only 32% of registered independents supported another term for the junior senator, while 46% preferred someone else.

Just 40% of voters view her favorably while a combined 60% either view her unfavorably or have no opinion.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a news conference on the Family and Medical Leave Act at the U.S. Capitol on February 1, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appears vulnerable as she seeks re-election of a fourth term — with only 42% of New York voters backing her return to office while 42% prefer someone else. Getty Images

Her Republican opponent, retired NYPD Detective Michael Sapraicone, said the findings show he has a shot to topple Gillibrand, who’s been a senator since 2009.

Sapraicone claimed Gillibrand is in trouble because she’s been “missing in action.”

“As I travel the state, I hear valid concerns about crime, illegal migrants, and the economy — and every New Yorker, no matter their party, says Gillibrand is missing in action,” Sapraicone said in a statement.

“Gillibrand has condoned the policies that are destroying our state and nation, failed her constituents, and disappeared.”

Gillibrand ran in the 2020 Democratic primary for president but dropped out early after garnering scant support.

“Does New York even have a junior senator? Ms. Gillibrand vanished from the public eye after being trounced in the 2020 presidential primary, and few have seen or heard from her since,” said state Conservative Party chairman Gerard Kassar, who backs Sapraicone.

“That’s clearly reflected in her anemic poll numbers. Make no mistake about it: Republican-Conservative Mike Sapraicone can beat Senator Gillibrand in November. This is a race to watch,” said Kassar.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., asks a question during a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing, Thursday, May 18, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington

Only 42% of voters support Gillibrand’s re-election in the deep-blue Empire State, while 42% prefer someone else and 16% were undecided, the Siena College poll found. AP

Gillibrand was first appointed to the Senate in 2009 by Gov. David Paterson after then-Sen. Hillary Clinton stepped down to become incoming President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

She won re-election in 2010 to complete Clinton’s term in 2010. 

Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said it’s striking that a sizeable number of voters have no strong opinion about or don’t know Gillibrand, given the length of her time in office.

“It’s a very high number for someone who has been a US senator for 15 years. But it’s consistently been like this through her time in office,” Greenberg said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York’s senior senator, is better known in polling, he noted.

But history shows that talk of toppling Gillibrand could turn out to be irrational exuberance.

A  better-financed Gillibrand easily won re-election with 67% of the vote in 2018 and 68% of the vote in 2012.

“Sen. Gillibrand will win re-election in a walk — hands down,” said Manhattan Democratic Party leader Keith Wright.

A former upstate congresswoman, Gillibrand shifted left on some policy issues such as gun control when she became senator.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., addresses the audience before President Joe Biden speaks on the debt limit during an event at SUNY Westchester Community College, Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Valhalla, N.Y.

While 62% of Democratic voters backed Gillibrand’s re-election, only 32% of registered independents supported another term for the junior senator, while 46% preferred someone else. AP

She’s been a leading advocate against sexual harassment and sexual abuse of women in the military.

In 2017, she was the first Democratic senator to call for the resignation of then-Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who was accused of unwanted groping and kissing of women.

She also made headlines when she said President Bill Clinton, a former political backer, should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Both comments drew some rebuke from fellow Democrats for political opportunism.

“Senator Gillibrand has won her previous races by historic margins and she looks forward to running on her record of delivering health care to veterans and 9/11 first responders, and passing bipartisan gun trafficking legislation that has taken nearly 3,000 illegal guns off the street,” said Gillibrand campaign spokesman Evan Lukaske.

This Siena College Poll was conducted June 12 – 17 among 805 registered voters.

It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

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