Democratic labor activist Jonathan Tasini, who ran in a primary against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2006, plans Thursday to announce a challenge to Clinton’s successor, Kirsten Gillibrand.
“I believe in primaries,” Tasini, 53, said yesterday Wednesday. “We are not anointing someone. This is not a monarchy... There should be vigorous competition to decide the direction of the Democratic Party.”
Sen. Charles Schumer and other Democratic leaders have been discouraging primary challengers to Gillibrand, who was appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson after Clinton became secretary of State. Gillibrand faces voters in a special election next year, to occur alongside other statewide offices.
Tasini is declaring as the field of potential primary challengers for the seat narrows. Among the early list of prospects, Reps. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have all dropped out. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, however, has been signaling that she’s preparing to challenge Gillibrand.
Said Tasini, of his own campaign: “If I can raise the money I think I have a shot at winning.”