Can anyone beat Hillary? Not in New York, it seems

Republicans call on a would-be Clinton challenger to drop out of the race.

Published December 1, 2005 3:02PM (EST)

Hillary Clinton's search for some sort of safe middle ground on Iraq may hurt her in Democratic presidential primaries in 2008, but Clinton seems to have little to fear in the meantime: Even some Republicans have begun to bail out on the GOP candidate who was supposed to be running against Clinton in her 2006 Senate race.

Jeanine Pirro never had much of a shot in 2006. Clinton has a ton of money and strong approval ratings in New York, and Pirro was put up to run against her more as an irritant than anything else. But even by the low standards set for her, Pirro has been a disappointment for some Republican leaders in New York, and they're fearing that her presence on the ballot will hurt other Republican candidates in 2006.

Now some of those Republicans, including New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, are urging Pirro to get out of the race. The face-saving move? She could "decide" to run for attorney general instead. Pirro isn't taking the hint, at least not yet. "Senator Bruno is a respected majority leader and I appreciate his confidence in my abilities," Pirro said in a statement this week. "However, I am a candidate for U.S. Senate."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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