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New York: Ball Raising Money to Take on Hall in 2010

State Assemblyman Greg Ball (R), who announced last week that he is setting up an exploratory committee as a prelude to a possible challenge to Rep. John Hall (D), said in an interview that he’ll take “a few months” before making a final decision on the race.

By opening an account so early in the cycle, “we’re going to be able to have a real exploratory phase of the campaign,” Ball said.

Ball, whose Assembly district covers about 20 percent of Hall’s Hudson Valley Congressional district, said he is confident that he can raise the money and attract the grass-roots support to run a solid campaign. But he said he would take the next few months to gauge voters’ reaction to Hall’s performance and the Democratic-controlled government in Washington, D.C.

Ball, riffing on Hall’s former life as a popular singer-songwriter, said the Congressman is no “rock star,” and he said he believes he can make the case that Hall is ignoring the “kitchen-table issues” that voters care most about.

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman disputed that.

“John Hall is successfully fighting for Hudson Valley families and veterans with a steady focus on creating jobs and jump-starting our economy,” Shripal Shah said. “We’re confident Congressman John Hall’s constituents are proud of his record and will appreciate his efforts come November 2010.”

Ball, who is just 31, ousted an incumbent Republican Assemblyman in a contentious 2006 primary and faced opposition from some GOP leaders in his 2008 re-election race. But all five county GOP chairmen in the district attended his fundraiser last week, and Ball expressed confidence that he’ll have their full support if he runs.

“I have bent over backwards to extend an olive branch” to the GOP establishment, he said.

Ball said last week’s fundraiser benefited his state political action committee but that any fundraisers he schedules in the next few months will be for his new federal campaign account.

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