David Malpass of Manhattan is seeking the Republican nomination to...

David Malpass of Manhattan is seeking the Republican nomination to for the U.S. Senate seat held by Kirsten Gillibrand. Credit: AP

Typical thinking long held that state Republicans are as primary-shy as Democrats are primary-prone. But GOP candidates for U.S. Senate may go head-to-head at the polls in September - while for Democrats, the only primary contest brewing so far is for attorney general.

"It would be nice to avoid it, but I don't know how likely that is right now," said a Republican insider. "It would be a crapshoot. You wouldn't know who to target or who shows up in a primary. It would be hard to predict or to plan for."

One reason: the state party's last memorable internal contest came 30 years ago when Alfonse D'Amato beat incumbent Sen. Jacob Javits. (In 1994, George Pataki beat Richard Rosenbaum in a gubernatorial primary, but easily.)

Today, rival GOP hopefuls against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand include David Malpass, Bruce Blakeman and Joseph DioGuardi. Another prospect might soon jump in, insiders say. Each would want the Conservative line early, to leverage support at the GOP's June convention. But it is unclear whether and when Republican and Conservative leaders - at odds on the governor's race - might coalesce behind Senate candidates.

The Democrats' early lineup to succeed Andrew Cuomo as he runs for governor features Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, lawyer Sean Coffey, ex-state official Eric Dinallo, and Assemb. Richard Brodsky. Rice could find an advantage as the only woman in the fray and enjoys trade-union support. But Schneiderman has New York City progressive props - and service-union support. That means a lot if primary turnout proves low - which seems likely.

After all, Gillibrand's way outfunded challenges from Jonathan Tasini and Scott Noren, and Sen. Charles Schumer's facing Randy Credico, stand to draw only the most minimal hype. Top Democratic players spent months discouraging and squelching challenges to the appointed Gillibrand. Cuomo, and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, appear assured of nomination.

2ND C.D. SCRAP: John Gomez, friend of commentator Sean Hannity and GOP choice for Congress against Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), raised $31,600, with $25,100 of it self-funded, filings show. His biggest donor: ex-rival Sal Ferro, who owns the home-improvement firm Alure. Incumbent Israel reports $1.7 million cash on hand, after raising $376,000 and spending $273,000 in the last quarter.

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