The "Conservative" Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand?

The New York Democrat's voting record is safely left-of-center, but she's never been liberal enough to suit the Times.

Raymond Hernandez's Friday front-page story, "N.Y.'s Junior Senator Gains a Defender: The Senior Senator," examined the close relationship between veteran New York liberal Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a former House member appointed to the seat after Sen. Hillary Clinton joined the Obama cabinet.

Although Gillibrand's voting record in the Housewas safely to the left of center - 8 on a scale of 1-100 in ratings by the American Conservative Union - the Times was clearly wishing for a more liberal choice for the seat. The paper's news stories dutifully repeat the news that Gillibrand was supported by the National Rifle Association as a congresswoman, and that she served a "white and rural" conservative district and thus must appeal to Manhattanites (i.e., liberals) if she wants to be win re-election.

Today, Hernandez Times even called Gillibrand "conservative" in the story of her relationship with Sen. Schumer, while also emphasizing her troubles with liberal Democrats in New York City.

Ms. Gillibrand faces steep challenges as she tries to win over skeptical Democrats after a shaky debut as the state's new senator. But in ways that are surprising and angering her rivals in the party, Mr. Schumer has quietly made her success his cause too.

Days after she was appointed, Mr. Schumer arranged for the two of them to dine with the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, where he pressed Mr. Reid to give Ms. Gillibrand the committee assignments she wanted....The help comes at a critical time for Ms. Gillibrand, who needs to make gains among New York voters, especially downstate liberal Democrats, with whom Mr. Schumer is broadly popular


His efforts on behalf of Ms. Gillibrand have angered some Democrats.

Already, at least three Democratic members of the state's Congressional delegation, RepresentativesSteve IsraelandCarolyn McCarthyof Long Island andCarolyn B. Maloneyof Manhattan, have said they may run against Ms. Gillibrand.


The two are strikingly different. He is the son of a Brooklyn exterminator and jumped into politics right out of law school, getting elected to the State Assembly, then the House and then the Senate.

He takes moderate positions on issues like taxes and crime, but is reliably liberal on abortion rights and spending on social programs.

Ms. Gillibrand comes from a powerful political clan in Albany and is a relative newcomer to politics, having decided to run for Congress in 2006 after a stint at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the House, Ms. Gillibrand embraced a conservative brand of politics, supporting gun rights and a crackdown on illegal immigrants. It proved popular in her heavily Republican district, but is problematic statewide.

After her appointment in January, Ms. Gillibrand attempted to ease doubts about her among liberals, reversing herself on several positions she held in the House, only to draw criticism that she was doing so for blatantly political purposes.

At least Hernandez acknowledged there are "liberals" as well as "conservatives" in New York state.