McFarland In

Just when you thought Spencer had the Senate seat in the bag, a challenger from the center right:

“Nine months ago, my daughter Fiona, a student at the United States Naval Academy, reminded me that service to one’s country is both an honor and an obligation. She challenged me to return to public service, to re-apply the skills and expertise I acquired while serving three U.S. Presidents on behalf of our state and nation.

“Today, I accept my daughter’s challenge by announcing that I am running to be my party’s nominee for the United States Senate from the State of New York. Toward that end, I have formed an exploratory committee, which I expect to upgrade to a full Senate campaign committee in the coming days.”

Now we get a few more months, at least, of Hillary saying, “I’d love to engage my challenger, but the GOP really needs to figure things out first.”

Also: Will GOPers buy that McFarland’s time in the Reagan Pentagon PR apparatus makes her a national-security expert today?

Full statement after the jump.

“Nine months ago, my daughter Fiona, a student at the United States Naval Academy, reminded me that service to one’s country is both an honor and an obligation. She challenged me to return to public service, to re-apply the skills and expertise I acquired while serving three U.S. Presidents on behalf of our state and nation.

“Today, I accept my daughter’s challenge by announcing that I am running to be my party’s nominee for the United States Senate from the State of New York. Toward that end, I have formed an exploratory committee, which I expect to upgrade to a full Senate campaign committee in the coming days.

“When I left government service to raise my children, America was enjoying a period of profound optimism. We were on the brink of winning the Cold War, our economy was reaching historic heights and the future looked bright in every direction. Morning in America had indeed returned; our nation had regained its footing after years of self doubt.

“Today, our country faces new challenges. We are confronted with a dangerous and determined enemy abroad and political divisions at home that are eroding our national spirit. At a time when Americans should be working most closely together, we are being pulled apart by partisan rancor and counterproductive ‘gotcha’ politics.

“A man I once had the privilege of serving reminded Americans that we are better than that. To Ronald Reagan, America forever would be ‘that shining city on a hill,’ always noble, always striving, always hopeful. In that spirit, I will conduct my campaign for the U.S. Senate.

“I seek to engage other candidates for this office in substantive debate on issues of importance to New York State and the nation, including homeland security, over-dependence on foreign energy, education and job growth. I will be issuing detailed statements on these and other key issues as my campaign progresses, and I expect to hold a formal announcement of my candidacy down the road. I am taking this campaign one step at a time.

“I have been personally assured by New York State Republican Chairman Stephen Minarik that the nominating process for this seat will be fair and open. For the past several weeks I have been in touch with county leaders of the Republican Party throughout New York State and I am very encouraged by the response. I now believe I will have the requisite support to appear on the Republican ballot this September.

“I also have met with the Chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, who has personally endorsed another candidate in this race, but who graciously recommended that I meet with other leaders from his party to solicit support. I will certainly do that.

“I have been blessed over the years by the manifold opportunities this nation has provided. I have been privileged to serve at the highest levels of government; I have received a world-class education through scholarships, part-time jobs and student loans and I have shared my life with the most wonderful husband and children one could hope for.

“Now it is time to get back to the business of serving my country, which I seek to do as a candidate for United States Senate from the State of New York.”

McFarland In