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Republican DioGuardi aims to unseat Gillibrand

Joseph J. DioGuardi, a former Republican congressman from Westchester County, on Tuesday announced his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

At a news conference at Grand Central Terminal, DioGuardi, who served four years in Congress during the 1980s, stressed his financial background as a businessman.

"America has rightly rejected Congress' spend-more, tax-more, borrow-more philosophy, but Washington doesn't seem to listen for long," said DioGuardi, who said he was the first certified public accountant to be elected to Congress.

"As a New York senator, I would stand up for the common sense economic and fiscal policies that would bring jobs to New York and put America back on the right track," said DioGuardi, 69.

DioGuardi, father of "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi, joins former Nassau County Legis. Bruce Blakeman as the only GOP candidates so far in the race. Other possible GOP candidates include Dan Senor, a former Defense Department official in the administration of President George W. Bush.

After his election to Congress in 1984, DioGuardi became known as a fiscal conservative, stressing greater financial accountability in each major federal department and agency. In 1986, he defeated former Rep. Bella Abzug when she attempted to unseat him. But two years later, DioGuardi lost to Democrat Nita Lowey. Since then, DioGuardi has written about politics and founded Truth in Government - a nonprofit organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility in government.

Gillibrand, appointed in 2009 by Gov. David A. Paterson to fill the remaining tenure of Hillary Rodham Clinton, sounded undaunted by her latest opponent. Other Democrats who considered opposing Gillibrand, including Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) , have earlier bowed out.

Spokesman Glen Caplin said Gillibrand "is going to run an aggressive campaign based on her vision for New York of creating jobs and lowering health care costs no matter which Republican is on the ticket."

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