2010 RACE

New York's Stubborn Senator

It seems the early, undeniably vicious attacks on Kirsten Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton’s controversial Senate replacement, have only made her stronger. Perhaps she has science fiction to thank for her resolve: The mother of two young kids is a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books, New York magazine reports, “and her life has had a similar the-quest-is-all momentum.” Despite a shaky first 100 days—marred by flip-flops, threats from political rivals, and smear campaigns—things are looking up for the senator. In less than 90 days, she’s already raised $2.3 million for her 2010 campaign—especially impressive during a recession. President Obama personally convinced potential Democratic primary opponent Steve Israel not to challenge her. And she’s working hard to reintroduce herself to constituents: “My parents and my husband have been worried about the coverage,” says Gillibrand. “I told them, ‘Give me six months, and I will make it better.’ People meet me, they like me. I work hard.” New York Democrats may wish they'd bitten their tongues.