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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

LI's ex-Sen.: Underdogs can win, like me in '80

In endorsing Bruce Blakeman for Senate, ex-Sen. Alfonse D’Amato fended off questions about fellow Republicans Rudy Giuliani and presumably George Pataki passing up runs of their own for the Kirsten Gillibrand Senate seat.

“…I am certain that in the fullness of time, that you will see Rudy Giuliani, and former Gov. Pataki, who finds himself in the same position, supporting Bruce. So it certainly does not mean he that he can’t win or that this is not a winnable seat. It is a tough race, there are many more Democrats, but I think Democrats and independents are disillusioned with the manner in which government is being conducted….

D’Amato told a Daily News reporter: “ Your question is silly if you say they decided not to run (because they couldn’t win). Let me tell you - Giuliani would have run away with this. And so would Pataki. But they have other decisions.

"They have businesses, they stepped out of politics for a while, so that doesn’t mean that they weren’t viable nor does it mean that Bruce Blakeman isn’t viable. Hes very viable"

D’Amato recounted: “Thirty years ago to the day there was someone who ran for office who was little known. No one knew him. And guess what – he ran against a giant, Jack Javits, in the primary. I was that person 30 years ago. I trailed in the polls 67 to 4.

"And let me tell ya. I didn’t look like Bruce Blakeman. If I did, who knows – I might have still been in office.”

Of course, D'Amato won a three-way contest that November with just 45 percent of the vote, but then two re-elections before losing to incumbent Democrat Charles Schumer in 1998.

“There is a momentum against what is taking place in Washington, which is a betrayal of democracy," said D'Amato, a lobbyist. "The average American is set aside, the union bosses are put up top. And working and middle class families are suffering.”

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