There’s an explanation for why Liz Feld, the Republican mayor of the village of Larchmont, announced on the eve of Thanksgiving her possible run for the U.S. Senate.
You might think the timing was odd. Few are paying the least attention to the news. What’s more, Feld made the announcement with a terse, one-paragraph statement and then was apparently unavailable for further comment.
Well, this is known as a “soft roll-out.” Feld is dipping her toe in the political water to test the reaction of those who have no real lives– that is to say the pundits, insider players and bloviators who are paying attention to the news.
Feld isn not known state wide but she has some smart people behind her who know how to raise scores on the recognition meter. Her press spokesman, at least for now, is Bill O’Reilly, a very capable public relations man, who worked wonders for Rob Astorino in the upset election victory over County Executive Andy Spano. One of O’Reilly’s clients is “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not,” a minor fact but which should carry tremendous symbolism for any underdog politician.
I mean, Astorino did defeat a well-heeled, three-term incumbent with a huge voter-enrollment advantage, didn’t he?
Yes, he did. Believe it or not.
If Feld takes the full plunge, she will mount a challenge for the Senate seat currently occupied by former Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was also a total unknown outside her Congressional district in upstate New York until she was picked from obscurity by Gov. David Paterson to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Feld is among New Yorks’s rather thin corps of young Republican up-and-comers, who are carrying the banner of tax relief and federal debt reduction in front of a growing parade of angry voters– many of whom are flame-throwing, throw-the-bums-out independents. Last year Feld attempted but failed to unseat one of the most entrenched Democrats in Albany, state Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, who is a loveable schmoozer but has been in office since the days of President McKinley.
Critics will say Feld’s resume is to way too thin for the big time. But she is no babe in the woods. She grew up in politics– her late father, Maurice L. Noyer, a sharp attorney, was also mayor– and she could at least make the case that being the chief of executive of a wealthy suburban village like Larchmont is infinitely more challenging than being mayor of, ahem…Wasilla, Alaska.
Don’t forget that Hillary Clinton never held an elective office when she took the Senate seat. Caroline Kennedy never got elected either– and she damn well came close to replacing Hillary.
Al D’Amato was only the supervisor of the town of Hempstead on Long Island before he got to the Senate.
Also, never under estimate the appeal of the Ms. Smith Goes To Washington scenario. Anything can happen.