One potential opponent after another has considered challenging Kirsten Gillibrand in the upcoming race for her senate seat, but though she’s been called “bland” and out of touch, most have stepped back. So how has the junior Democratic senator—who’s never been elected statewide and hasn’t performed well in the polls—staved off rivals like Tenesseean Harold Ford Jr., Daily News publisher Mort Zukerman, ex-governor George Pataki and more? Rev. Al Sharpton suggests that she “either has mystical powers or the best luck I have ever seen in politics…It is amazing.”

The Times points to one obvious strength: money in the bank. Thanks to a network of donors, many of whom are women and a strong geographic base around Albany, Gillibrand has $5.1 in campaign funds. She’s also a hard worker, according to many of her peers, even those that dislike her. At this point she only has “token” Republican opponents, including mayoral race dropout Bruce Blakeman, ex-economist David Malpass and American Idol dad Joe DioGuardi, and opposition from within her party has disappeared altogether.

Gillibrand may also have a secret weapon, according to Politico. It says that though powerful former senator Al D’Amato has publicly endorsed Bruce Blakeman, he’s “working behind the scenes,” convincing potential rivals not to go up against Gillibrand, who he’s known since she was born. It's not unlikely, since from the beginning the Democrat has had support in high places, including from senior senator Chuck Schumer and from President Barack Obama.