WASHINGTON — Former President Bill Clinton will headline a fundraiser for a New York congresswoman challenging White House-backed Sen. Kristen Gillibrand in the state's Democratic primary.
Clinton has not endorsed in the race, but his efforts to help Rep. Carolyn Maloney could be seen as a snub to Gillibrand and President Barack Obama. Matt McKenna, a spokesman for Clinton, said he will attend a July 20 fundraiser in New York.
The White House has played an active role in clearing the field for Gillibrand, who was appointed earlier this year to fill the seat vacated when Obama tapped Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. Obama asked Rep. Steve Israel not to challenge Gillibrand, a request Israel honored. Just days ago, Vice President Joe Biden called Maloney to discuss the race, a clear sign the White House didn't want a primary fight next year.
Bill Clinton also did a fundraising event for Gillibrand, but word of the Maloney event comes as the congresswoman moves toward formally announcing her candidacy. An adviser said this week she is running. Both Maloney and Gillibrand supported Hillary Rodham Clinton's failed presidential bid.