New York Republicans hoping to defeat Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this fall will pick a favored candidate Friday.
With the exit Friday morning of Republican Rye Town supervisor Joe Carvin, three candidates were left seeking party support at the convention in downtown Rochester. The Senate race was unexpectedly scrambled Tuesday when U.S. Rep. Bob Turner, facing likely elimination of his New York City congressional district, belatedly announced a run. Also running are Nassau County comptroller George Maragos and New York City attorney Wendy Long.
Republicans will pick an officially designated Senate candidate, though any candidate with more than 25 percent of the weighted vote at the convention can earn a ballot spot for a June 26 primary.
Republican state Chairman Ed Cox said there's a good chance that more than one candidate will earn a ballot spot.
"I do believe there will be a primary," Cox said Thursday evening.
Some analysts believe a three-month Republican primary would draw precious resources from a party outnumbered 2-to-1 by Democrats in New York, but Cox said it would allow the candidates to establish themselves with voters.
Carvin, who had lagged in support, said he believed he could have won a spot on the ballot but feels any of the candidates can defeat Gillibrand.
Any of the remaining candidates would likely face an uphill battle in the general election.
Gillibrand has raised more than $8 million for the race and has been building support after a bumpy start in the Senate three years ago. The former upstate congresswoman was criticized for moving to the left on many issues after she was picked to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who became secretary of state.
Gillibrand handily won election in 2010 to fill out the remainder of the term and is running for her first full six-year term. New York Democrats are expected to nominate Gillibrand on Monday.
The state Conservative party will make its pick the same day. Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long favors Wendy Long, who is no relation, and said this week that many Conservative party county chairmen support her. The Conservative line is highly coveted by Republicans running for statewide office.
Winning majority support at the convention does not guarantee success with the state's Republican primary voters. The three Republican designees in 2010 for governor and the two open Senate seats all lost their primary races.
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