The news that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is no longer considering a run for governor, instead setting his sights on incumbent United States Senator Kirstin Gillibrand, has the pundits in an all-out frenzy. Anyone and everyone from the political arena is speculating about what Rudy's forgoing of the one seat for a shot at another means to the political landscape across the state.
This blog has had a plethora of posts about the Upstate/Downstate disconnect. I've tried to emphasize the point that it's not about political parties per se, but about the need to have all regions of this state represented in positions of authority, not just New York City. That being said, it's hard to ignore the differences between the regions when you see this:
What the above images show is what the State Senate Majority looked like prior to the Democrats successful attempt to regain the Senate, and after. The before picture, on the left, shows strong representation across the entire state. The after picture, on the right, shows what the State Senate Majority looks like today.
Yes, there are five senators from Upstate New York in the Senate Majority. Yes, this is a problem for those of us who live north of the Tappan Zee Bridge. And the reality of the situation is that if we have to rely on Stachowski, Thompson, Breslin, Aubertine and Valesky to carry the torch for Upstate, we are unequivocally screwed. Stachowski showed what a coward he is after Malcolm Smith promised him the powerful Finance Committee Chairmanship throughout the election last year, only to pull the plug on that promise. Did Stachowski say a word about it? Nope, he took it in the arse without a whimper.
When you couple the geography of the power in this state with the mentality of most of the Downstate senators, as illustrated by bully Kevin Parker (see below), Upstate has a real problem.
So what does all of this mean as it relates to Rudy? Simple: the GOP needs a very strong candidate on the ballot next year if they are to have a shot at regaining the Senate Majority. Rudy would lead that ticket. How is this relevant to Upstate? If the GOP does not regain the Senate next year, it will never happen. With redistricting to happen after the 2010 census, whichever party is in control of the Senate will redraw the lines to ensure their survival in that majority for decades to come. If the Democrats retain the majority, the map above on the right will become permanent. That should be very disturbing , regardless of political affiliation.
Let's hope Rudy does confirm the rumors of his political intentions - the survival of Upstate depends on it.