As a winter storm raged outside in Saratoga Springs, New York Republicans plowed ahead with their U.S. Senate nominating convention Friday.
By a unanimous vote, the party nominated Chele Farley, a managing director at a private equity investment firm and former New York City fundraising chair for the state GOP, to challenge U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Chele Chiavacci Farley, a Republican aiming to unseat U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, channele…
In her announcement video released last month and again during her acceptance speech Friday, Farley said one reason she's running for U.S. Senate is New York's status as a donor state. The state sends over $40 billion more to Washington each year than it receives in federal aid.
"I will stand up and stop Washington from discriminating against New York taxpayers," she said.
Infrastructure is another issue high on Farley's list of priorities. She has some familiarity with the subject. She earned an industrial engineering degree at Stanford University.
New York has a growing number of bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. And the condition of the roads isn't much better.
"Who better than an engineer to know what to fix and a finance person to figure out how to do it economically?" Farley said.
Farley pledged to raise $10 million to support her campaign, which would help her compete against the well-funded Democratic incumbent. As of Dec. 31, Gillibrand had more than $9.6 million in the bank.
Securing the Republican Party's support was the latest milestone for Farley's campaign. She earned the Conservative Party's endorsement earlier this week. Republican candidates, especially for statewide offices, typically run with the support of the Conservative Party.
Ed Cox, chairman of the state GOP, believes Farley will be a formidable foe against Gillibrand.
"Chele will bring an ability, fire and conviction to the U.S. Capitol that has been sorely lacking from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand," Cox said. "Chele will get things done, unlike our current senator who is all talk and no action."
Glen Caplin, a spokesman for Gillibrand's campaign, said the incumbent senator congratulates Farley on securing the GOP nomination.
"For her part Kirsten will be focused on running a positive campaign based on her core values like rewarding work again in our country, getting the special interest money out of politics by rejecting corporate PAC donations and fighting on behalf of all New Yorkers who need a voice as she successfully did for the 9/11 first responders," Caplin said. "She looks forward to the opportunity of earning the privilege to continue serving New Yorkers for another term."
Gillibrand was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2009. She succeeded Hillary Clinton, who became secretary of state under President Barack Obama.
After winning an election in 2010 to serve out the remaining two years of the six-year Senate term, Gillibrand was re-elected to a full term in 2012.
Farley could face a primary for the GOP nomination, but she will be the favorite to win the party's line. Dave Webber, an Oswego County resident, is also seeking the GOP nomination. To force a primary, Webber must collect 15,000 signatures to appear on the June 26 primary ballot.