Nadler Backs Junior Senator

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rep. jerrold nadler, one of the most liberal members of new york's congressional delegation, endorsed sen. kirsten gillibrand last week.

gillibrand, a former two-term house member from upstate, was appointed by gov. david paterson to fill the term of now-secretary of state hillary clinton in january. in the house, she held conservative views on immigration and gun control that put her at odds with the state's democrats. that invited a brief primary challenge from east side rep. carolyn maloney.

but since becoming senator, gillibrand has moderated those views and is aligning herself with new york democrats' progressive positions, such as supporting health care reform and protecting abortion rights. her focus on repealing the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military caught nadler's attention.

"kirsten gillibrand has been a great partner on many progressive causes," nadler said in a statement. "new yorkers want and need kirsten on their side and i'm proud to endorse her for u.s. senate."

gillibrand called nadler a patriot and progressive champion.

"i am honored to have congressman nadler's endorsement," gillibrand said.

nadler's support is a boost to gillibrand who is up for election next year. a number of republicans are mulling a challenge to the freshman senator, including high-profile candidates such as former mayor rudolph giuliani and former gov. george pataki.

the only declared candidate for her senate seat is democratic labor activist jon tasini. comptroller bill thompson, who narrowly lost to mayor michael bloomberg this year, is also said to be considering a primary challenge.

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