11:19 am Aug. 2, 20121
Of all the rumored challengers to Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010, Dan Senor is still the one top new Republicans talk about wistfully.
Gillibrand, a Paterson appointee, was perceived to be vulnerable in her first statewide race, leading to a succession of rumored challengers by virtually every prominent Republican in the state, from Peter King to Rudy Giuliani.
But according to top Republicans, it was Senor who came closest to actually pulling the trigger.
This morning, the New York Times sheds some light on a couple of reasons why Senor might have demurred, beginning with the opportunity he was presented with to be the top foreign policy adviser for Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
According to the Times, Senor began advising Romney in 2006, shortly after he left the Bush administration, where he had served as a spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and a top aide to Paul Bremer.
It was Senor who caused a diplomatic stir in Israel last week when he indicated to reporters that Romney would support a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear program. (The campaign later clarified to say Romney "respects" Israel's right to defend itself.)
Senor, a 40-year-old native of Ithaca, has roughly the kind of profile that has concerned Gillibrand's camp over the years: young, media savvy and with access to significant sums of money, thanks to a couple of years spent at a New York City hedge fund. (Witness the quickness with which they chased Marc Cenedella, a young, wealthy political neophyte from a potential challenge earlier this year.)
But Senor came with significant negatives too, including reams of on-the-record quotes defending the Bush administration's hawkish foreign policy, which wouldn't have helped him overcome the built-in disadvantage of running as a Republican in a very blue state.