Kirsten Gillibrand wins, full stop

Kirsten Gillibrand at Personal Democracy Forum. (Personal Democracy via flickr)
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been elected, without qualification.

The Associated Press called Gillibrand's victory over Republican Wendy Long immediately after the polls closed, before any precincts had reported, bringing to an end a campaign that spanned four years and two cycles, going back to her appointment by then-governer David Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.

In her victory speech, she talked less about politics than about the impact from Hurricane Sandy.

"Even with an unprecedented federal response, and President Obama has promised and delivered a no red-tape strategy, the enormity of the damage has left our families struggled for basic human needs, from food to water to heat," she said.

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Gillibrand was branded "vulnerable" after being appointed by Paterson in January of 2009, and immediately set about reassuring the liberal constituencies that were skeptical of her record as a one-term upstate congresswoman.

But rival Democrats, warned off by senior senator Chuck Schumer, declined to challenge her in a primary, and none of the rumored, big-name Republican materialized to run against her.

She won big against former congressman Joe DioGuardi in 2010 for the right to finish Clinton's term, and then, the very next day, held a campaign rally with the same non-numbered GILLIBRAND FOR SENATE signs that she would use again in 2012, when running for her own full term.

Now, Gillibrand has six years until her next race, which should afford her plenty of time to pursue her own ambitions.

A spokesman for Gillibrand said she doesn't currently have plans for any events tomorrow.