Newly announced U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long said today she would begin an upstate swing next week,
beginning in Erie County on Monday beginning in Syracuse on Tuesday before working her way to Rockland County on Saturday, meeting with Republican county chairs along the way.
Long, a conservative Republican attorney from Manhattan, last night officially announced her bid to try and unseat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, in November. A former Senate staffer who served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Long said in a phone interview today that she would begin a statewide swing next week in her attempt to gain support from the county chairs.
Long said she had been working on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, and became interested in a Senate run “a couple of months ago” when she began surveying the field to take on Gillibrand.
“I just didn’t see the kinds of folks getting into the race who I thought would be able to take (Gillibrand) on successfully,” Long said. “So, I kind of looked around and said, ‘Well, I guess if nobody else will do it, I’ll do it.’ And I talked to my husband and my kids and they weren’t wild about it, but I gradually brought them around.”
The state Republican Party convention is March 16 in Rochester, where the party will choose its preferred candidate to take on Gillibrand in November. So far, Long and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos are the only Republicans who have announced their bids.
Long said she hasn’t been happy with Gillibrand’s “liberal” views and “inability to distinguish and define herself.” She said she’s spoken to nearly all of New York’s GOP chairmen and has received an encouraging response, and said she would be crisscrossing the state until the March 16 convention.
“One reason I got in is because I’m a mother of two young kids, and I see our country really changing so fast from the country that I grew up in and lots of things that I love and care about kind of going down the tube,” Long said. “So I thought anybody who could ought to suit up and do battle on the battlefield, and that’s why I’m doing it.”
Long, 51, is a native of New Hampshire, and recently had been working for a Washington D.C. group that focuses on the judicial system and Supreme Court nominations.
“I’ve been involved in national fights before over issues that are very important in this campaign,” Long said. “You can basically boil it down to people who love freedom and jobs—who understand that private enterprise and freedom are what create jobs and grows the economy—and people who believe in big government, which is not what our Constitution was set up for.”