Long, who has already captured the Conservative-party nomination, itself a testament to her soundness, has quite the impressive résumé: Dartmouth graduate, clerk to Clarence Thomas, successful attorney, and mother of two. She has never run for political office before, and describes herself as a “lifelong, consistent Reagan conservative.”
Long has argued that she has another quality that could shift the general in her favor: She is a woman. “Once we get past the June 26th primary, we will be the only race in the country pitting a Democratic woman against a Republican woman,” Long points out. That, she holds, should disarm “War on Women”–style identity politics and let her focus on stark contrasts on policy.
With all this in mind, Long says she will move to the forefront of New York politics: “We are going to make some new Republicans this cycle.”
For his part, Turner argues that only he can beat Gillibrand: “I do not think there is anyone but me who can do this.” He says the fact that he already has pulled off an upset in New York, along with his roots in the business community and his strength in key demographics, uniquely positions him for November.
What do the pollsters think? “[The] gap is huge, but things happen. No one thought Schumer was going to win,” says Mickey Carroll of Quinnipiac. “On paper, Gillibrand looks unbeatable at this point. But we don’t win elections on paper. . . . Anything can happen,” adds Siena’s Steve Greenberg.
Gillibrand’s most obvious advantages may turn into liabilities. First, her name-recognition advantage likely inflates her poll numbers. Second, her evolution from a moderate congresswoman into America’s most liberal senator (according to National Journal) should weaken her support in upstate New York; her NRA rating plummeted from an A to an F with her promotion. Lastly, Obama’s falling support in the Jewish community may trickle down the ticket.
The race, by universal acknowledgment, will be difficult. But an upset could just happen for the right candidate.
— Harry Graver is an editorial intern for National Review.