Jon Cooper, an up-and-coming pol who is chairman of the Suffolk County Legislature, has decided not to pursue a primary challenge of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, after a long private meeting with her in D.C. (h/t Robert Harding at The Albany Project).
Cooper, like too many downstate Democrats, had bought into the phony cartoon Gillibrand created by NYC newspapers, and had set up an exploratory committee back in the spring.
Now he believes Gillibrand is the "real deal."
Join the ever-growing club.
Cooper was challenged by a mutual friend to meet her, and they set up a several-hours-long dinner meeting on a recent Saturday.
Cooper told Liz Benjamin of the New York Daily News:
The person I thought I was running against was not the real Kirsten Gillibrand.
I had always said I would do what was best for the Democratic Party, New York State and the nation. ... I thought it would be doing a disservice to all three if I pursued this primary. I decided she wasn't a flip-flopper after all.
I would only want to win if it was the old Gillibrand I was running against, but once I realized that she shared the same positions on key issues that I did and would fight for them like I would, I lost my rationale for running.
In an e-mail to supporters (at the TAP link), Cooper went into some detail about the issues that have been troubling Democratic readers of NYC newspapers:
Down I went to Washington, fully prepared for a "snow job" that I would easily detect and resist ... and pretty certain I would come back ... and declare my candidacy.
But what I found instead -- based on facts I subsequently verified -- is a woman quite unlike the one that has been portrayed in the press.
In reviewing the "source materials," as you might put it, instead of relying on second-hand accounts, I determined that Senator Gillibrand is no more a tobacco stooge than I am ... that she was 100% pro-LGBT equality long before she was ever appointed to the Senate ... that her positions and votes on guns are not at all what that "100% NRA rating" had led me to assume.
Plus, as it turns out, Senator Gillibrand is smart, warm, energetic and committed to doing a great job.
Indeed, she has been doing a great job, and not just compared to other freshman appointed Senators.
Cooper's story is another reminder, as if we needed one, not to believe everything you read/hear about progressive Democrats in the corporate media.