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Another Empire State Showdown Looms


House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, second from left, administers the House oath to Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., fourth from right, with members of Lee's family, during a mock swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Democrats, despite their public downplaying of their interest, are unlikely to take this race for granted. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was highly successful last cycle in recruiting political outsiders, in winning two upstate New York seats that Republicans aggressively contested. With Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) now at the helm, it's unlikely he'll let an opportunity slip through - and the committee has frequently downplayed expectations, only to vigorously compete in these special elections. The DCCC has already dispatched Northeast regional political director Abby Curran to meet with prospective candidates, though Israel emphasized at his briefing yesterday that the final decisions are made at the local level. Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul has emerged as a serious Democratic contender, but don't be surprised if someone with the business/political outsider profile of a Rep. Bill Owens or former Rep. Scott Murphy emerges. -- Jessica Taylor contributed to this report.

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