Few New Yorkers were surprised this week when liberal Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said she was abandoning her campaign for the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) in 2006 and would instead run for the open office of state attorney general. Pirro’s Senate bid had been dogged by her difficulty in addressing national issues and the likelihood that the state’s Conservative Party would not give her its ballot line.
Within hours of Pirro’s exit, supporters of conservative Manhattan lawyer Ed Cox were urging him to re-enter the Senate race from which he had withdrawn two months ago. (The other major Republican contender is former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, also a conservative.) Cox, who is a son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon, had impressed conservatives in New York with his unqualified embrace of tax cuts, smaller government, and the right to life. He had been a strong favorite for the Conservative Party line until he withdrew from the race, citing Republican Gov. George Pataki’s endorsement of Pirro.