The contest between GOP candidates John Spencer and Kathleen "K.T." McFarland is getting labeled "blue blood versus blue collar" and "Rockefeller versus Rove," a clash between liberal and conservative Republicanism that seems especially unique to New York.
"It’s a fight between the Main Street Republicans and the Wall Street Republicans," says pollster Maurice Carroll, an expert in New York politics.
McFarland has the requisite "moderate" political views that are typical of most Republicans from the Empire State, and she is wife of a wealthy Wall Street investment banker with a second home in Southhampton.
On the other hand, Spencer, the former mayor of Yonkers, is a one-time construction worker who grew up in a foster home and served in Vietnam. Spencer has deemed McFarland a "liberal elitist" and claims that "I don’t hang around country clubs," and "don’t have cocktails out at Southhampton."
He has also said, "It is a fight for the Republican Party. It’s almost class warfare a group of elitists who do come from money and wealth and whatever, who have what I think is a look-down-your-nose, superior attitude toward people with my background."
But while there is no doubt that the socialite McFarland is now wealthy and has, according to her own description, many "friends [who] are senior people in NY financial, banking and legal communities," she nevertheless says that she is still a "self-made woman from a lower, middle-class Italian background who got through college and grad school on scholarships, student loans and part-time jobs."