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Gillibrand Gets GOP Challenge

He’s no Rudy Giuliani or George Pataki, but New York attorney Bruce Blakeman’s announcement Sunday that he will run for Senate gives Republicans their first serious candidate to take on freshman Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Blakeman, a commissioner on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, declared his intent to run at an American Legion hall in his boyhood home in Valley Stream, N.Y., surrounded by state GOP luminaries including former Sen Alfonse D’Amato, Nassau County party Chairman Joe Mondello, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who passed up a run for the seat, himself, last week.

Blakeman told CQ-Roll Call he believes he has “the right message” as well as “the political support” to take on Gillibrand, who has been unable to scare off ongoing talk of a primary challenge. The latest Democrat to eye a bid is former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.), who moved to New York three years ago.

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