Blogs > Cliopatria > With Friends Like These . . .

Dec 5, 2005 11:10 am

With Friends Like These . . .

In 1958, a great year for Democrats nationally, Minnesota DFL congresswoman Coya Knutson lost her seat, in part because her husband, Andy, issued two public letters pleading"Coya come home." The letters also hinted that Knutson had an improper relationship with her legislative assistant.

I was reminded of Knutson this morning reading to the front page of today's New York Post. It turns out that the husband of GOP Senate nominee Jeanine Pirro originated a covert campaign to pressure her out of the Senate race, with a face-saving solution of standing for state AG. Albert Pirro, whose conviction for income tax problems had previously derailed a Pirro statewide bid, appears to have conspired with NY Senate majority leader Joe Bruno to begin a public pressure campaign to get Pirro to drop her bid. Bruno is concerned that Pirro will be a drag on the ticket and might cost the Repubs control of the state Senate.

Pirro hasn't been the greatest of candidates--her campaign got off to a bad start when, in the midst of a fiery denouncement of Hillary Clinton in her announcement speech, she misplaced a page and had a 40-second or so pause. But it's hard to see how another nominee could do better, or how Pirro could possibly be elected AG after getting into the race under these circumstances.

There are some national ramifications, potentially, to this story. The GOP has kept control of the state Senate in NY only through gerrymandering. If the Dems ever recaptured it (they'd need to pick up four seats), they could promptly redraw the lines and create a near-unassailable Dem majority--and, at the same time, they could similarly push through a DeLay-like redistricting of the state's US House districts, which would probably net the Dems three or four seats.

I'm sure that J. Pirro has a good sense today, though, of how Knutson felt a half-century ago.

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