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Primary challenge for Hillary

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

The challenge to Hillary Rodham’s Clinton’s U.S. Senate bid is not now confined to the expected showdown with Republican Rick Lazio.

Dr. Mark McMahon, a Long Island-born Irish-American physician, recently secured 40,107 signatures in his effort to force a primary runoff with Rodham Clinton in September.

McMahon, whose Irish roots are in County Clare, filed the signatures with the New York State Board of Elections. Late last week, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that McMahon’s bid to enter the race was legitimate. McMahon, who is based in Manhattan, immediately challenged the first lady to a series of debates.

Though he faces a political task that is, to say the least, uphill, McMahon does have the backing of some influential Democrats, including Jim McManus, leader of the century-old McManus Democratic Club on Manhattan’s West Side.

Meanwhile, though the expected all-Irish showdown between Rep. Joe Crowley and City Councilman Walter McCaffrey might be history, another all-Irish political tussle is taking shape in Queens.

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Former Queens Assistant District Attorney Patrick O’Malley is challenging 37th District New York State Assembly member Catherine Nolan and has secured enough petition signatures to force a primary runoff on Sept. 12.

Nolan, a close political ally of McCaffrey, has represented the heavily Irish 37th Assembly District for 16 years. The district includes Woodside, Sunnyside and Long Island City.

Photos of O’Malley have been prominently featured in the windows of businesses in Woodside and Sunnyside in recent weeks.

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