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LT. GOV. ROSS BEATS 4 RIVALS TO WIN STRAW POLL

The Democratic candidates for statewide office strutted their stuff Saturday in this economically beleaguered industrial city in the first "beauty contest" of the campaign season.

By the end of the day, none of them was strutting more than Lt. Gov. Ross, who just became a Democrat in September and is now seeking her new party's nomination to challenge Gov. Pataki. She won a straw poll conducted among the several hundred Democrats attending the session staged by the Schenectady County Democratic Committee. Lt. Gov. Ross got 128 votes to 114 for former state Transportation Commissioner James Larocca and 91 for New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes Hynes and former state Urban Development Corp. Chairman Richard Kahan trailed far back.

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