By William Lewis
The 2010 election cycle will soon be upon us. As the process unfolds, there seems to be some interesting races emerging.
At the state level, there is increasing speculation that former Republican Gov. George Pataki will be challenging U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who was appointed to fill out the term of now-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Several weeks ago Pataki came to Dan Halloran’s City Council campaign headquarters to endorse him. He gave the impression of being a man beginning a serious political comeback. If that contest takes place, we will have a former three-term governor running for a U.S. Senate seat.
Once before in state politics we had a similar situation, when former New York Gov. Herbert Lehman, who served from 1933-42, first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1946 and was defeated by the Republican candidate, Irving Ives. In 1949 he again ran for the U.S. Senate in a special election and was successful. He ran for a full term in 1950 and was re-elected as a Democratic and Liberal Party candidate.
Pataki will be running as the Republican and Conservative candidate in addition to possibly obtaining the nomination of the Independence Party.
Turning to the governor’s race, if former Mayor Rudy Giuliani runs as the Republican candidate, it will begin to look more likely that state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will be the Democratic candidate running against him.
Giuliani faces an uphill battle from the standpoint that since the 1850s no New York City mayor has gone on to higher office, such as governor, U.S. senator or the presidency. But he has national name-recognition and the reputation as a strong leader based on his actions as mayor on Sept. 11, 2001, and a successful crime fighter.
In the Fifth Congressional District of northeast Queens and western Nassau Counties, there may be a replay of 2008 in which incumbent U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) may be facing Republican Elizabeth Berney. She is expected to announce within the next month if she intends to run.
Berney has indicated that if she runs, in addition to national security matters, she intends to challenge Ackerman on such issues as high taxes, deficit spending and President Barack Obama’s health care plan.
In the 11th State Senate District, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) will be preparing early for what promises to be a tough re-election race. The question is who his opponent will be. City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who just lost a Democratic primary for mayor, is considered a possible candidate, although up to this point he has given no indication of his future political plans.
Another possible candidate is Paul Vallone, who just came in a strong third place in the September Democratic primary campaign for Avella’s seat. It is interesting to note that his campaign headquarters on Francis Lewis Boulevard is still intact and possibly could be used as a continuation of his headquarters for a new campaign next year, either for the state Senate or an attempt to run for the state Assembly in the 26th Assembly District. That is the office presently held by Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside).
As for the important Assembly seats in Queens, the Democrats control all 18 of them, but there are two seats that have the potential to become strongly contested.
In the 26th District, the state attorney general’s office during the next few months should be completing its investigation as to Carrozza’s legal residence, concerning whether she is living in her Assembly district or Nassau County. The finding of that investigation will have a major impact on how that election turns out.
In the 38th Assembly District in western Queens, there is almost certainly to be a Democratic primary by possibly three Democratic insurgents seeking to replace incumbent Michael Miller, who won a special election in September. Miller was chosen as the organization candidate without a primary election.
Next year there will be a Democratic primary in the 38th District, as an attempt will be made to replace Miller as the Assembly candidate. On the Republican side, Donna Marie Caltabiano, after her effective campaign in the 38th District special election this year, is expected to gain more support next year and present a formidable challenge.