GOP Challenger to Sen. Clinton Quits Race

By Chris Cillizza
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, December 22, 2005

Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro (R) ended her campaign against New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday, bringing to a close a brief and decidedly rocky attempt to unseat perhaps the country's most famous Democratic officeholder.

Even as she announced she would shutter her campaign against Clinton, Pirro jumped into the state attorney general's contest. A recent independent poll showed her trailing the two Democrats seeking that office.

In a statement released by her campaign, Pirro said her "law enforcement background better qualifies me for a race for New York State Attorney General than a race for the United States Senate."

Pirro's exit leaves the Republicans adrift for now, with only two obscure candidates vying for the nomination: former Yonkers mayor John Spencer and tax lawyer William Brenner.

From the start of Pirro's Senate campaign in mid-August, she was beset by questions about her fundraising ability and readiness for such a high-profile contest.

Pirro is the second Republican to drop a bid against Clinton, who is seeking a second Senate term next November. New York City lawyer Ed Cox, the son-in-law of President Richard M. Nixon, left the contest Oct. 16 when New York Gov. George E. Pataki (R) announced his support for Pirro.

"We know at some point the Republicans will sort out this process and choose a nominee," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said.

Cillizza is a staff writer.

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