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Labor Activist Ensures Gillibrand Will Face Primary Challenge

Labor activist Jonathan Tasini announced Thursday that he is running for Kirsten Gillibrand’s U.S. Senate seat in 2010.

“I believe New York voters deserve a choice,” Tasini wrote on his Web site. “We live in a democracy, and elections should be about addressing the issues, not about party insiders ‘clearing the field’ for a favored candidate,” a not-so-veiled-reference to President Obama’s phone call to Rep. Steve Israel, asking him not to challenge Gillibrand.

Tasini’s challenge is unlikely to attract as much concern from national Democratic leaders. The past president of the National Writers Union (United Auto Workers Local 1981), Tasini mustered just 16 percent of the vote in a primary challenge to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2006.

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