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ELECTIONS 2012: Gillibrand has earned second term 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Manhattan attorney Wendy Long are graduates of Dartmouth. They're not far apart in age, and they're both working mothers. But the similarities between Gillibrand and Long, her Republican challenger, end there.

Gillibrand, a Democrat, was sworn into the US Senate in January 2009, filling the seat once held by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She won election to the seat in 2010, and is City's choice in this year's election over Long and Green Party candidate Colia Clark.

Prior to joining the Senate, Gillibrand was a member of Congress, representing New York's 20th District. She fulfilled a campaign promise to bring transparency to her position by being the first member of Congress to post her schedule and personal financial disclosures online.

Gillibrand was a leader in the fight to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the policy banning openly gay people from military service. And she is an ardent supporter of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Long is a tough-talking conservative who earned her law degree from Harvard Law School. She helped create a nonprofit group to get Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito confirmed. On her website, Long says Justice Clarence Thomas, for whom she clerked, is one of the "greatest living judges in America." And she's endorsed by former US Senator Rick Santorum, one of the most conservative politicians in the country.

In their only public debate, Gillibrand and Long clashed over abortion rights, access to contraception, and the natural gas extraction process known as fracking.

Gillibrand said she agrees with Governor Andrew Cuomo that all the facts aren't in about fracking yet, and that New Yorkers need to protect their highly-prized drinking water from possible toxins.

Long said studies concerning fracking are conclusive and concerns about its dangers are a "myth."

The Green Party's Colia Clark says high quality, free education from kindergarten to graduate school should be a constitutional right. She opposes diverting public education funds to charter schools, and supports a single-payer health-care system. She says she wants to stop the use of drones, legalize marijuana, and end the death penalty.

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