Jon Cooper, the
majority leader of the Suffolk County legislature in New York,
that he is weighing whether to challenge U.S. senator Kirsten
Gillibrand in the Democratic primary in 2010. The move could
make Cooper, a wealthy manufacturing business owner and father
of five adopted children, the first openly gay U.S.
Cooper, 54, was the
first elected official in New York State to endorse Barack
Obama, and he served as the future president's Long Island
campaign chair. In remarks to
, Cooper suggested that he would apply a forward-thinking image
to challenge Gillibrand, the former upstate congresswoman who
was appointed by Gov. David Paterson in January after Hillary
Clinton vacated the seat to become secretary of state.
"I consider myself
progressive on the important issues. And obviously, Senator
Gillibrand has not been a strong supporter in the past on
either issue," he told
referring to gun control and gay rights.
Gillibrand, 42, has a
100% positive rating from the National Rifle Association. She
supported federal civil unions for same-sex couples as a
congresswoman, though she announced her support for marriage
equality when she was appointed senator, making her one of only
a handful of U.S. senators to do so.