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Senate Candidate from N.Y. Bows Out to Make Way for First Lady

By Michael Grunwald

and John Harris

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s all-but-announced Senate candidacy in New York became even more of a foregone conclusion Thursday as the only other potential Democratic candidate said she is dropping out of the race because it is “clear” that Clinton will run.

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., on Thursday said she is withdrawing from the Senate race to clear the field for the first lady, and will instead run for a sixth House term. Clinton advisors said she plans to announce the formation of an exploratory committee in early July, and while some still caution that she could change her mind, the adopted-state candidacy that once seemed almost too far-fetched to contemplate is looking more than ever like a done deal.

Clinton, who has never lived in New York and has never run for elective office, met Thursday to talk politics with James Carville, the charismatic consultant so central to her husband’s 1992 presidential campaign. Carville said she never declared to him that she was running during their chat, but he said the assumption was obvious.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever declared to her that I’m a male,” Carville said. “It’s understood.”

Now that Lowey has pulled out, Clinton is the only Democrat even considering the race to succeed retiring Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan, D-N.Y. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Rep. Rick Lazio, R-N.Y., are likely to compete for the Republican nomination. “She’s clearly made the decision to run,” said Lowey, who called Clinton on Thursday and pledged to support her still-undeclared candidacy. “It was time for me to move on.”

Lowey did not rule out the possibility of getting back into the race if Clinton has a change of heart, but Democratic insiders say the party is obviously counting on the first lady to run. Potential candidates such as state Comptroller Carl McCall, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo and environmental activist Robert F.

Besides serving on the Fed, in the executive branch and in city government, Rivlin also has done a stint in the legislative branch. She was the founding director of the influential Congressional Budget Office from 1975 to 1983.