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Rooney eyes challenge to Ranzenhofer

   Justin Rooney, a Newstead councilman for the past six years, is talking to Democratic leaders about challenging Republican incumbent Michael H. Ranzenhofer of Williamsville for the State Senate this fall.

   Rooney said he has all but decided to enter the race, and expects to make an official announcement soon.

   A suit adjudicator for Geico Inc., Rooney unsuccessfully ran for the County Legislature against Republican Raymond W. Walter in 2009.

   He said he expects to gain backing from the Working Families Party too, and has discussed his efforts with Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan and State Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens, chairman of the statewide panel charged with electing more Democrats to the Senate.

--Robert J. McCarthy

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