The New York Times today reports that Kathleen Troia ("K.T.") McFarland, a 54-year old protégée of Henry Kissinger and Pentagon spokeswoman during the Reagan administration (she wrote the famous "Star Wars" speech), has officially decided to challenge Hillary this November.
She tells the Times that she will be running on a platform of national security and military issues, and that she has foresworn any mudslinging (in fact, she criticized Republicans for saying Hillary is angry).
Said K.T.: "The war on terror is not going to be easy, and in a lot of ways, it’s much more difficult than the cold war. It’s not a time to play politics, to play gotcha, to only talk to Republicans or to Democrats. It’s a time to say, what do we agree on? What common ground can we find…? My objective in running for office is I want to keep my (five) children and my (three) grandchildren as safe as I can. I have a husband whose office is above Grand Central Station. If we have a terrorist attack on the subway, that’s where they go. I have a daughter who’s in the Naval Academy. She’s someone who would be sent overseas with the first wave. If the United States has policies that are shortsighted or irresponsible, she bears the brunt."
She described herself first as a "moderate Republican" and then as a "Reagan Republican," and refused to say how she would have voted on the Iraq war, although she said that she believed more American troops should have been deployed.
The paper also belabors the obvious point that McFarland is exactly what the liberal GOP establishment wants, since she is a "tough, telegenic woman who supports abortion and may keep some female votes in play."
The state party already had that role filled with Jeannine Pirro back in summer/fall 2005, but the Westchester District Attorney bailed out of the race to run instead for state Attorney General, at the urging of party leaders.
Of course, Pirro has extensive and recent public policy and campaign experience, as compared to K.T., who has spent the last 20 years as a stay-at-home mom, not that there’s anything wrong with that. McFarland did not mention to the Times whether she spent the past couple decades "having teas and making cookies."
The Times revealed that McFarland was drawn to the Senate race only because she already believed she was going to lose her bid for a Congressional seat against Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). She had already raised about $600,000 for that race, which can transfer to her Senate campaign. In addition, she and her husband, Alan, an investment banker, are pretty wealthy.
Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist, believes that K.T. will also be more successful than Pirro or John Spencer with Republican donors nationwide because of her history with President Reagan and her work on military issues.
"She has the stature and gravitas that Republicans will embrace," said Rollins. "The former mayor of Yonkers (John Spencer) is not necessarily going to be viewed as an impressive candidate by major figures in the party."
However, the fact remains that McFarland is a campaign novice by all accounts, she has no political record to run on, and her name recognition in the state has got to be in the single digits, and there are only eight months remaining to increase her visibility. It will be difficult for her to beat John Spencer in the GOP primary, which is in September, never mind put up a decent fight against Hillary.