Here is something that flew under the radar yesterday as FEC numbers sucked all the air out of the room: Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer formed an exploratory committee for a run for the Senate.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Stringer established a committee on Monday to explore the possibility of challenge Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandLawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package Progressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal MORE in the 2010 Democratic primary.

Stringer's moves underscores what could be a crowded and potentially challenging 2010 primary for Gillibrand, who was appointed this year to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat. Currently, Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy and Steve Israel are all looking at runs.

But a crowded field like this one could be good for Gillibrand. All of these challenger are from either Manhattan or Long Island and would, presumably, run to the left of Gillibrand. They could split that vote and would leave Gillibrand all of upstate New York.

Remember, when Gov. David Paterson (D) was laying out his criteria for the Senate appointment, he said he wanted someone from upstate who is an accomplished fundraiser. Gillibrand fits that mold (she raised $2.3 million in the first corner) and will likely be well positioned and very well prepared to defend her seat next year.

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com