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U.S. Senate campaign heating up

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: U.S. Senate campaign heating up
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We are still months away from what people normally consider the campaign season. Most of the politicians intensify their efforts starting on Labor Day. But one race near the top of the ballot this fall promises to be active right through the summer months. YNN's Bill Carey has more on the contest for U.S. Senate in New York.

AUBURN, N.Y. -- It is a day after a holiday and the state's junior U.S. Senator is beginning a three stop swing through Central and Northern New York.

Kirsten Gillibrand faces a re-election test in the fall and is taking little for granted.

Gillibrand, who maintains a big lead in the polls, will spend much of this summer on the road, across New York State, visiting local officials and supporting local projects, re-enforcing credentials as a U.S. Senator concerned about constituent service.

“I think all elections are about an opportunity for voters to assess if their elected leaders are doing what they've asked them to do. And so what I am really focused on is trying to do the best I can do,” Gillibrand said.

“Kirsten Gillibrand has not done her job,” said Onondaga County Republican Chair Tom Dadey.

Dadey is Onondaga County's Republican Party chairman and one of the earliest and most vocal backers of the candidate who won the republican nomination to oppose Gillibrand in the fall, attorney Wendy Long. He says the record doesn't support Gillibrand's claim of doing the best she can.

“Including being part of a Senate that has not passed a budget since she has been there. To me, and to many folks, that is unconscionable,” Dadey said.

The incumbent is vowing to avoid attacks on Long. She says the campaign ahead should be focused on issues.

Gillibrand said, “We've seen campaigns go negative across the country, but what New Yorkers always look for is, does that individual share my values? Do they have the same hopes and dreams that I have for my kids? And I really feel that that's how New Yorkers do assess candidates.”

“The problem with Kirsten Gillibrand is we don't know what she stands for,” Dadey said. “She's flip-flopped on a number of issues, whether it's immigration, whether it's the second amendment, whether it's the Iraq War. Pick an issue. She has had both sides of the aisle.”

It is a battle between two graduates of Dartmouth. Gillibrand from the class of '88. Long from the class of '82. Which class has the edge?

“There's lots of great Dartmouth grads,” quipped Gillibrand.

What's clear is that there will be little time for class reunions this summer.

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