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New York: Fretting Democratic Leaders Seek Answers

With Gov. David Paterson (D) sagging in public opinion polls and appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) not faring much better, half a dozen powerful Democratic county chairmen are meeting with half a dozen prominent union leaders today to discuss how to save the party in 2010, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

The group, featuring leaders from across the state, is gathering at a Holiday Inn in the upstate city of Kingston.

Some party officials are worried that Paterson could lose the Democrats’ tenuous hold on the governor’s mansion and the state Senate just before the redistricting process begins. And even if no prominent Republican runs for Senate, Gillibrand seems likely to face a bloody primary challenge from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) — who could formally announce her candidacy sometime this week.

In a related development, the News reported Monday that Rep. José Serrano (D) is trying to play peacemaker between Maloney and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who roundly criticized the Congresswoman after it was revealed that she had used the N-word in an interview to illustrate a point about Gillibrand’s position on English-only education.

Sharpton had endorsed Gillibrand in the primary and played host to the new Senator just a day after she was appointed. The Village Voice reported Monday that Charlie King, who until recently served as national director of Sharpton’s National Action Network, is now working as a campaign consultant to Gillibrand, earning $5,000 a month.

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