N.Y. DA Pirro to Run Against Sen. Clinton

Jeanine Pirro (search), a high-profile prosecutor from the New York City area, said Monday she will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (search) in her bid for re-election next year.

"I am running against Hillary Clinton because New York state deserves a senator who will give her all to the people of New York for a full term, who will not miss votes to campaign in [presidential] primaries," Pirro said in a statement.

"When Mrs. Clinton first came to us and said she wanted to be a New Yorker, she asked New York to put out a welcome mat and we did," the Westchester County district attorney added. "But now she wants us to re-elect her even though she won't promise to serve out her term and wants to use us as a springboard to the presidency. She's asking us to become her doormat. I believe we deserve better."

There was no immediate comment from Clinton.

Recent national polls have shown the former first lady as the leading contender for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, although Clinton has said she is completely focused on her re-election bid and is not thinking about running for the White House (search).

Pirro, 53, said she would formally announce her candidacy on Wednesday.

Pirro has won praise for her Internet stings of would-be child molesters, her work with battered women and her battle against underage drinking. She had often been seen on national television as a commentator on high-profile crimes. In 1997, she made People magazine's "most beautiful people" list.

She has been a supporter of abortion rights.

Pirro was re-elected district attorney in 2001 while her husband, lawyer-lobbyist Albert Pirro, was in federal prison for tax fraud, and he has been an issue in most of her campaigns. In 1986, he refused to release information about his law practice and she had to withdraw as the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. He is a major Republican fundraiser.

Some top Republicans, including state GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik (search), had been pressing for Pirro to run against Clinton on the theory that even if she lost the race, the district attorney could bloody the former first lady as she prepares for a possible run for president in 2008.

A statewide poll released last week by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute had Clinton leading Pirro, 63 percent to 29 percent.

Also eyeing the GOP Senate nomination are Edward Cox, an attorney who is a son-in-law of the late President Nixon; former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer; and William Brenner, a tax attorney.