Before serving in the Senate, Gillibrand was a moderate congresswoman representing a swing upstate district. While 2010 was a good year for her, it might not have turned out that way had she remained in the House, where Republicans swept into power, picking up six seats in New York, including the 20th District, which Gillibrand had represented. Political fortunes are like the stock market: up one day, down the next. Sometimes, a scandal (John Edwards) or a dramatic policy decision (Scott Walker) can remake an image overnight. But often, a little bit of luck - both good and bad - can go a long way toward determining a politician's future.
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