New York republicans discuss candidates for governor

New York’s Republican Party leaders were meeting behind closed doors today to sort out who should run for governor and whether Jeanine Pirro should abandon her struggling campaign to challenge Senator Hillary Clinton.

New York’s Republican Party leaders were meeting behind closed doors today to sort out who should run for governor and whether Jeanine Pirro should abandon her struggling campaign to challenge Senator Hillary Clinton.

Two of the leading contenders for the party’s nomination for governor, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and former state Assembly Minority Leader John Faso, pressed for the Republican Party’s county chairmen to take a vote on who they support.

Democrat Eliot Spitzer, New York’s state attorney general, is the only announced Democratic candidate for governor.

“We need a candidate who can take the fight to Eliot Spitzer,” said Weld, who argued that he was the candidate for the task.

“By definition, I am not an Albany insider.”

Governor George Pataki, a Republican, is not seeking a fourth, four-year term next year.

Meanwhile, the county chairmen were also set to discuss whether Pirro, the district attorney of suburban New York City’s Westchester County, should heed state Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s advice and switch to the state attorney general’s race. Her campaign has struggled to raise funds and gain traction against the popular and well-financed Clinton.

Pirro was not planning to be in Albany for the chairmen’s meeting and aides said she does not plan to immediately drop out of the Senate race, even if party leaders say she should.

State election officials said today that money she raised for a Senate race could largely be transferred to a state attorney general’s race.

Independent polls have shown Clinton and Spitzer well ahead of their potential Republican challengers.

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