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New York: King, Molinari Won’t Go After Gillibrand

Cross two more names off the list of New York Republicans who might want to run for the Senate this year.

Rep. Peter King and former Rep. Susan Molinari have now officially ruled out challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D).

For King, it’s his second pass at the opportunity to take on the appointed Senator.

He had announced in September that he would not run for the Senate but had been again entertaining the notion because of the decision by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) to skip the race.

“While the political situation has changed dramatically in the Republicans’ favor since September and I believe that Sen. Gillibrand can and will be defeated in 2010, I will not be a candidate for the Senate,— he said Monday, citing the time that a statewide campaign would take away from his duties in the House and his eagerness to get a gavel. “I am increasingly confident that Republicans will retake the majority in the House of Representatives and that I will again have the opportunity to be chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee,— he said.

A number of other lesser-known Republicans are considering challenging Gillibrand, who was appointed to her post about a year ago.

Molinari released a statement Monday declaring “a statewide race this year is not a practical option for me and our family.—

Gillibrand, seeking to scare off potential rivals, has been on a fundraising tear since her appointment. Her campaign disclosed Monday that she raised a total of $7.1 million for the year — $1.6 million in the fourth quarter — and is starting 2010 with $5.1 million in cash on hand.

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