Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was heavily favored Tuesday to win a full six-year Senate term in her race against Republican attorney Wendy Long.
Gillibrand, 45, an attorney from Brunswick near Albany, took 63 percent of the statewide vote two years ago in winning election to the two remaining years of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate term.
Prior to her appointment to the Senate in January 2009, Gillibrand served in the House representing a district in the upper Hudson Valley.
Long, 52, had the backing of the Conservative Party and won a three-way Republican primary in June.
But her campaign never attracted much financial support. That kept her from airing TV ads or gaining name recognition in her first campaign for public office.
Long’s task was made harder because Gillibrand agreed to only one televised debate. Gillibrand debated former Republican Rep. Joe DioGuardi of Westchester County twice in the 2010 Senate race.
Long also faced the prospect of heavy Democratic turnout around the state in a presidential election year. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in New York about two-to-one.
Gillibrand ran self-promoting, positive TV ads. One touted her support for advanced manufacturing. Another promoted her work for greater transparency in government, and a third highlighted her role enacting legislation to provide health services for Ground Zero volunteers.
Perhaps as a result of those ads, a recent Siena College poll found Gillibrand’s public favorability rating at the same level as Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer’s.
Gillibrand also raised an impressive $15.4 million.
Her penchant for raising campaign cash may put her in the running next week to become the next chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which recruits Democrats to run for the Senate and helps raise money for them.
Gillibrand won’t be up for re-election until 2018, which gives her the 2014 and 2016 election cycles to build up her “Off the Sidelines’’ program that encourages women to run for office.