Voter Guide: New York Senate Race

Kirsten Gillibrand (D) vs. Joseph DioGuardi (R)

Democratic incumbent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed by, is running to keep the seat she was appointed to by Governor David Paterson when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. Republican Joseph DioGuardi, a former Congressman from the late 1980s, is her opponent.

Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

WNYC Coverage of Kirsten Gillibrand

Challenging an "Unelected Junior Senator" (September 10, 2010)

The Brian Lehrer Show: Gillibrand on the Democrats' Future (January 22, 2010)

The Brian Lehrer Show: The Junior Senator (June 9, 2009)

Fast Facts

  • Hometown: Albany, NY
  • Graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College; received her law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law
  • Both parents were attorneys, her father was a Democratic lobbyist with ties to Republican Governor George Pataki and former Republican Senator Al D'Amato
  • Served as a Democratic Congresswoman in a traditionally Republican district from 2006 to 2009
  • Served as special counsel to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo (now NY Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate) during the Clinton administration
  • Was an attorney for 15 years; notably worked on a case defending tobacco company Philip Morris against a federal perjurt investigation in 1996
  • Serves on the Special Committee on Aging; Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; Committee on Environment and Public Works; and the Committee on Foreign Relations


  • Voted against the Wall Street TARP bill, otherwise known as the "bank bailout bill"
  • As Congresswoman she promoted transparency by posting her daily schedule, earmarks, and financial disclosure forms online
  • Believes that No Child Left Behind should be revised to support teachers and provide adequate funding to urban and rural schools that need assistance
  • Has written legislation to cut taxes for businesses up to 20 percent when they make new hires
  • Pro-choice on abortion
  • Supports marriage equality
  • Has a 100 percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association
  • Has voted to withdraw troops from Iraq

Other Links

Kirsten Gillibrand's Campaign Site

Senate Choice: Folksy Centrist Born to Politics (New York Times, January 23, 2009)

Joseph DioGuardi (R)

WNYC Coverage of Josephy DioGuardi

The Brian Lehrer Show: Republican Senate Nomination: Meet the Candidates (August 25, 2010)

Fast Facts

  • Hometown: New York, NY
  • Graduated from Fordham University with a BS
  • Served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 to 1989
  • While in Congress, helped to write the Chief Financial Officers Act, which mandated a Chief Financial Officer to each major department and agency in the United States government
  • Founder and president of the non-profit "Truth in Government," which aims to highlight the government's debt
  • Won a Republican primary for Congress in 1992 but lost in the general election; lost Congressional primaries in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2008
  • Author of Unaccountable Congress: It Doesn't Add Up, about fiscal irresponsibility in Congress


  • Believes that the government's debt is actually much more than is revealed to the public 
  • Wants to reduce government spending by passing legislation to implement a balanced budget
  • Promises to pass legislation to create 12-year term limits for Senators and House members
  • Wants to create tax incentives to encourage more research into new technologies
  • Pledges to eliminate the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies and supports medical malpractice reform legislation to lower costs
  • Promises to uphold the Second Amendment
  • Pro-life on abortion

Other Links

Joseph DiGuardi's Campaign Site

In Tight Republican Race, DioGuardi Is Chosen to Face Gillibrand (New York Times, September 15, 2010)

Ex-Congressman Enters Race to Unseat Gillibrand (City Room Blog, New York Times, March 16, 2010)

Related Races in New York

Governor: Andrew Cuomo vs. Carl Paladino

Attorney General: Eric Schneiderman vs. Dan Donovan

Congressional District 1: Tim Bishop vs. Randy Altschuler

Congressional District 13: Michael McMahon vs. Michael Grimm

Congressional District 19: John Hall vs. Nan Hayworth