Campaign 2010

Aug 02, 2004

NY-29: Sam Barend

You’ve probably heard of her, she’s as young as they come, and she’s climbing the charts. Roll Call again:

Donna Brazile was late.


The celebrity Democratic operative/author/Roll Call columnist was due to address the New York delegation at its breakfast Tuesday morning, but she became hopelessly detained.


For Samara Barend, opportunity knocked - as it has so many times in her brief political career.


Judith Hope, the former state Democratic chairwoman who was playing emcee, invited Barend, the 26-year-old Democratic candidate in the race to replace Rep. Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.), to say a few words.


“I guess I’m the entertainment,” Barend told the hundreds of delegates, elected officials and dignitaries who were munching bagels, bacon and eggs. “So get used to it.”


It was prime exposure for Barend, who spent the week in Boston making the rounds in an attempt to boost her profile among Democratic opinionmakers - and meet scores of potential donors and foot soldiers.


“I’m sensing that we really have a chance,” Barend tells anyone who will listen.


Since Houghton announced his retirement in April, Barend, a former state party operative and community activist, has moved from the longest of long shots and become one of state and national Democrats’ favorite upset possibilities. Her aggressive fundraising - and apparent good luck - has fueled Democratic optimism even though Republicans hold a 45 percent to 29 percent edge in voter enrollment in the Southern Tier district.


“It presents an interesting opportunity,” said Greg Speed, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


Barend’s appearance on the national radar screen has come suddenly. On Tuesday, she was called out by no less an eminence than Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and erstwhile presidential frontrunner who also made a speaking appearance at the New York breakfast.

“That’s going to be a pick-up to make Nancy Pelosi the next Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Dean said.

This is an open seat, ripe for the picking.  For a more personal angle, check out Matt Stoller’s post on her, or just pay her a visitRoad to Eleven.

District typo corrected.

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