The fight to name a challenger to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took center stage at the state Republican Convention in Rochester, N.Y. on Friday, as three candidates got their name on the ballot. Nick Reisman from NY1's sister station YNN filed the following report.
A three-way primary for the chance to take on U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in November is underway after a trio of Republican hopefuls achieved ballot status at the state GOP convention in Rochester. Expected to be competitive, it won't be a long one after a court ruling that moves the primary from September to June 26.
"It is much better having a June 26 than a September primary. Thirteen weeks will be enough for them to really get their sea legs in a really competitive situation, a friendly competitive situation," said State Republican Party Chairman Edward Cox.
Candidates include Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who has been in the race for almost a full year. He will compete against relative newcomers Wendy Long, a Manhattan lawyer, and freshman Congressman Bob Turner, who announced this week he was running.
Turner hoped to use his name recognition after winning an upset special election last year.
"That upset victory and the message it sent to the Obama administration is still resonating. It will continue to resonate and I think it will resonate in the fundraising and the media attention for the senatorial," said Turner.
Though Long has never run for office before, supporters said having a woman run for the seat against Gillibrand would be a plus.
"I'm a 1980s Ronald Reagan conservative. Ronald Reagan won the state two times and I don't think those conservative values are out of step with New York at all," said Long. "I think that Kirsten Gillibrand being named the number-one most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate is what's out of step with New York."
Maragos, first elected Nassau County comptroller in 2009, said his life story as a successful Greek immigrant will help his cause and potentially change Republican politics.
"This will have a great renewal effect on the New York Republican Party and certainly be appealing, as I indicated, to millions of New Yorkers whose origins have immigrant origins," said Maragos.
Meanwhile, New York Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs released a statement blasting the three candidates for what he considers pandering to the Tea Party.