Everyone's talking about Hillary Clinton in 2016—but the next time the Dems are choosing a candidate, Clinton's Senate successor might be their best bet. Kirsten Gillibrand has a reputation as a moderate, but as a senator since 2009, she's managed to win over skeptical lefties, too, writes Maggie Haberman at Politico. Just ask Howard Dean, who calls her "a first-class political mind." She's a Blue Dog Democrat who has carved a political career that gives her firm footing for a national run.
During the 2012 election, Gillibrand fought for women candidates via her Off the Sidelines PAC, which pulled in $1 million to back women candidates. Meanwhile, she easily won election to a full term. Her work on both women's rights and against Don't Ask, Don't Tell "appeal to a huge swath of the Democratic primary electorate," notes Haberman. Meanwhile, despite some position changes, "she has remained center-left" on issues like business. "If Hillary doesn’t run, I think there’s going to be a legitimate woman candidate, and it’s likely to be Kirsten Gillibrand," Dean says. Click for the full piece. (Read more Kirsten Gillibrand stories.)