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HIGGINS, NAPLES GOING ALL OUT ON LAST LEG OF RACE

Brian M. Higgins told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters in Cheektowaga on Saturday there was one thing he wasn't planning on doing before Tuesday's election.

"Sleeping is not an option," the Democratic Congressional candidate said at a rally at his headquarters.

"The next four days are going to be very hectic."

Right across the street at the Tops Market on Union Road, Higgins' Republican opponent, Nancy A. Naples, made it clear she's also going to be putting in some long days.

"It's been like that for the last four months," said Naples, greeting shoppers before a planned day of door-to-door campaigning.

Higgins, who is giving up his seat in the Assembly, began his final push to win the 27th Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Republican Jack F. Quinn by calling in some campaign reinforcement in the person of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton called Higgins "a decent, honorable, honest young man," and said he was needed to fight a Republican-dominated Congress she termed "a banana republic where one or two people . . . basically call all the shots."

Higgins appealed to his workers to go door-to-door, concentrating on the areas in the district outside his political base in Buffalo.

"I need ambassadors on the ground," he said. "You know me, and commercials can't convey that."

Naples, the county's comptroller, dismissed the appearance by Clinton, who was joined by Democratic Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren and Lynn Woolsey, both from California.

"This race isn't about politicians," she said.

"It's about the people of Western New York."

Those citizens, she said, "are concerned about their families growing up and leaving. It's the cry I hear from every corner of this district."

The focus of her campaign, Naples said, has been "to tell the people of Western New York about how I can help create jobs in this community."

e-mail: jbonfatti@buffnews.com

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