President Obama urged New York Gov. David Paterson not to run in next year's election only after members of Congress, nervous about the party's prospects with Paterson at the top of the ticket, lobbied Rahm Emanuel for help. The 2010 election features not only a race for governor but also the first statewide test for Kirsten Gillibrand, whom Paterson appointed to the Senate, and there are more than a half-dozen vulnerable House Democrats. "When you have the top of the ticket not running well, that affects everyone," one pollster tells Politico.
Paterson defied Obama's request, insisting this week that "you don't give up," but only 14% of voters say he deserves a full term. Gillibrand is also polling poorly, with just a 26% job approval rating—and rumors are circulating that George Pataki, New York's last Republican governor, could run against her. Rep. Mike McMahon, a freshman with uncertain reelection prospects, welcomed Obama's intervention: "It’s important that we have the best team up and down the ticket, and that’s what we’re doing."