Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (search) boasted Tuesday that she would be re-elected in 2006, and that Republicans should "spend their money elsewhere" than New York.

"Maybe they'll think better of it because I'm going to win," she said in an interview with The Associated Press.

While the former first lady has not yet formally announced she is seeking another term, she said that she would begin raising money for an expected re-election race immediately after the presidential election.

"I will raise whatever money I need to raise," she said.

Clinton, a Democrat, said she raised about $45 million to win her Senate seat in 2000, and anticipated needing at least that much for 2006.

Using a national fund-raising operation, Republicans were able to outspend her in 2000. New York's junior senator said she expected the GOP to again raise a great deal of money in an attempt to unseat her.

"They should spend their money elsewhere," she said.

Clinton said she took Republicans' seeming dislike for her as "a perverse form of flattery."

There was no immediate comment from top New York Republicans.

The New York GOP has, however, made it clear that she is a top target for them in 2006.

There has been speculation she could face a challenge from either Gov. George Pataki (search) or former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (search). Giuliani quit the 2000 Senate race against her after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. She easily defeated the GOP's replacement candidate, then-Rep. Rick Lazio (search).

Clinton said she "didn't give a lot of consideration" to running for president this year. Even though people pressed, she said she felt obligated to honor her 2000 campaign pledge to serve a full Senate term.

"I have no regrets," she added.

Clinton, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention Monday, is considered a front-runner for the 2008 presidential nomination should John Kerry lose his bid for the White House.