Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Wendy Long picked up a key endorsement Wednesday from George Pataki. While his nod was expected, his public support could help elevate her long shot bid to unseat Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Our Bobby Cuza has more on the race.
NEW YORK STATE -- "I am here this morning for one simple reason and that’s to endorse Wendy Long for the United States Senate," George Pataki said.
Here in blue-state country, George Pataki is something of a guiding light for Republicans. While he’s been out of office almost six years, that's six years in which no Republican has held statewide office.
"Being elected three times as governor of New York in this overwhelmingly democratic state, I think proves that common sense, republican, conservative policies and principles really do work," Wendy Long said.
Wednesday, Pataki not only threw his support behind Long, a Manhattan attorney and political novice, he also attacked her opponent, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and her Democratic colleagues in Washington on the deficit, health care reform, and efforts to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthy.
Pataki said, "When you raise the marginal tax rates on people earning over $200,000 a year, you are directly targeting New York."
Long has her work cut out for her. Her campaign is in debt. Gillibrand, meanwhile, has more than $10 million on hand and a whopping 37 point lead in one recent poll. Her camp portrays Long as a Tea Party candidate out of touch with New Yorkers, on the wrong side of issues like gay marriage and abortion. But Long, who beat out two others, including Congressman Bob Turner in a June primary, makes no apologies for her conservative views, arguing forcefully to cut taxes, spending and government regulation.
"I’m for freedom and opportunity. She’s for big, oppressive government," Long said.
Long and Gillibrand will go head to head in a debate televised statewide by YNN and our sister station, NY1, on Wednesday, October 17th, a little less than three weeks before election day.