Gillibrand, formerly a relatively obscure Upstate congresswoman, was appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then-Gov. David Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton, who resigned to become Secretary of State. But Gillibrand ran in a special election in 2010, defeating former Republican Rep. Joe DioGuardi by 28 percentage points. Despite Gillibrand's failure to gain traction with New York voters, Republicans are struggling to find a viable candidate. The New York Times reported on Monday that one GOP prospect, Erie County businessman Marc Cenedella, maintained a blog on TheLadders.com, a job-search website he founded, that contained "random observations about sex, women and drugs." On Tuesday, Cenedella told the Albany-based, statewide cable public affairs program Capital Tonight he took "full responsibility" for the content of the site, though he accused Gillibrand of conducting a "smear campaign" against him. "This is a smear attack by Kirsten Gillibrand who obviously has an interest in keeping me out of the race," Cenedella said. "Getting smeared by a U.S. senator has made me a lot more optimistic about my chances," he added. Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, elected in 2009, is already seeking the GOP nomination. The NY1-YNN Marist poll was conducted Jan. 18-19, surveying 554 registered voters. The poll's margin of error is +/- 4.2 percent. The poll did not test Cenedella -- or any other Republican -- against Gillibrand in a head-to-head matchup.
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