Rep. Bob Turner (R-N.Y.) announced Tuesday that he will seek the Republican nomination to face Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) this year.
“I will travel to the Republican State Convention in Rochester later this week and humbly ask for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate,” Turner said in a statement, adding: “I have made my intentions known to the other Republican candidates in this race.”
With the state’s redistricting process set to wrap up in the coming days, Turner’s district is one of two slated for elimination.
Turner won a heavily Democratic New York City district — formerly held by scandal-tarred Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) — in a special election last year but is a relative newcomer to politics.
“Brooklyn and Queens voters of all political parties graciously responded by sending me to Congress. It now appears that their district has been eliminated,” Turner said. “There is serious work to be done to get this economy back on track, and I will not walk away from that work now. I will run for the Senate, and I will run to win.”
Gillibrand is not considered a top GOP target. She was appointed to the Senate from her upstate New York House seat after Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, and she won the final two years of Clinton’s term in 2010, getting 63 percent of the vote against former congressman Joe DioGuardi (R-N.Y.). This year’s election is for a full term.
Turner could bring some crossover appeal to the race, but putting together the funds to run a serious campaign against Gillibrand will be tough. She has steadily built up her campaign war chest since being appointed and had more than $8 million cash on hand at the end of the year. Turner, who had just $71,000 in his campaign fund at last check, is also getting a very late start in the race.
“Bob Turner is a former Rush Limbaugh producer-turned-congressman who is at best a C-list candidate and will struggle to win over New Yorkers thanks to his partisan, far-right voting record,” said Matt Canter, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Republicans had attempted to recruit a wealthy self-funder, TheLadders.com founder Marc Cenedella, to run against her, but he opted not to run after the media unearthed some racy posts from his personal blog.
Other candidates in the race include Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.