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New York: EMILY’s List Gets Behind Gillibrand Early

In a move designed to send a message to its donors — but also to women’s groups, liberal Democrats and potential challengers — EMILY’s List announced Wednesday that it was endorsing newly appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) for the 2010 election.

In a statement, Ellen Malcolm, president of the powerhouse fundraising group, called Gillibrand “a great advocate for women and families.”

The EMILY’s List endorsement came just one day after Gillibrand was sworn in. The former upstate Congresswoman was appointed Friday by New York Gov. David Paterson (D) to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is now secretary of State.

Despite the blessing of EMILY’s List and Paterson, Clinton and Sen. Charles Schumer (D), Gillibrand’s appointment has not been universally embraced, and some liberal groups have been particularly critical. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy has threatened to run against Gillibrand in the Democratic primary next year because of Gillibrand’s support from the National Rifle Association, and a group of Latino state legislators said Tuesday that they would try to recruit a primary challenger because of Gillibrand’s stances on illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, the liberal Village Voice newspaper continued its assault on Gillibrand this week, offering more accounts of connections between her and prominent New York Republicans such as former Sen. Al D’Amato, who appeared at her side last week as Paterson was announcing her appointment. The paper also reported that key donors of Gillibrand’s made substantial campaign contributions to Paterson as he was weighing Clinton’s replacement.

The support of EMILY’s List will help deflect some of the criticism — and boost Gillibrand’s fundraising.

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