Byline: Ralph Z. Hallow, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
NEW YORK - The New York state Republican establishment, eager to field a candidate to defeat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's expected re-election bid next year, is backing high-profile prosecutor Jeanine Pirro.
"Jeanine, we are on your side," 46 county GOP chairmen in the state said in a letter this week to Mrs. Pirro, the Westchester County district attorney. "Join the fight for all New Yorkers, and declare your candidacy for the United States Senate."
Mrs. Pirro, though a Republican, disagrees with President Bush on abortion and hate-crimes legislation, which she supports. She won a "100 percent pro-choice" rating from Kelli Conlin, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice New York.
Backers say Mrs. Pirro is the perfect "Hillary-fighter" - attractive, articulate and with a following, in part because of frequent television appearances as a prosecutorial expert.
But some prominent Republicans are supporting Ed Cox, a pro-life New York lawyer and the late-President Nixon's son-in-law, who already has committed to spend $1 million of his own money to capture the 2006 Republican Senate nomination.
Publishing magnate Steve Forbes, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has signed a fundraising letter on behalf of Mr. Cox, describing him as "both a great man and a great friend."
Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, said he "urged Ed Cox to make the run."
"He knows the issues, from education and economic issues to foreign policy, and nothing can be thrown back at him about his personal life and about anyone close to him," Mr. King said.