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Clinton's County Squire

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All good news for Rudy, of course. If there's one county where his record and image should work as amulets, it's Nassau. In most polls, he's ahead of Hillary in the suburbs by 25 points; assuming the margin is lower in Westchester, which is more Democratic, his Nassau bulge probably tops out well above 30.

On the other hand, there's Bush. McCain beat W by around ten points in Nassau, indicating that Bush's last-minute breast-cancer ads backfired horribly and that he may be pretty weak there in November. And there's Clinton comma Bill; after Woodrow Wilson and LBJ -- not even FDR! -- he's the third Democrat this century to carry Nassau County in a presidential election.

DiNapoli swears Hillary can be competitive there. He notes that among Democrats and Republicans only, Chuck Schumer actually beat Al D'Amato in Nassau -- that is, D'Amato received his margin with the votes he got on the Conservative and Right-to-Life lines, which Rudy in all likelihood won't have. "It's not there yet," DiNapoli says. "It needs to be worked. But when she's out there, she gets a tremendous reception.

"I'm sure some of the traditional patterns will reassert themselves," he says. "But things will never be quite the same. If nothing else, people will see that your hand doesn't fall off if you vote for a Democrat." That, and people don't roll their eyes now when Tom DiNapoli makes predictions.

E-mail: tomasky@aol.com


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