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Weld taps old pals to help in N.Y. gov bid

By Brett Arends
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Beacon Hill political consulting and public relations firm Gray Media has been tapped by former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld for his surprising tilt at the gubernatorial race in New York.

Firm founder Rob Gray and partner Dominick Ianno - both veteran GOP strategists - are helping Weld set up a campaign in the Empire State this fall and thereafter will work for the 2006 campaign as strategic advisers.

Gray was a press aide for Weld on Beacon Hill and was communications director during the former governor's 1996 Senate bid against John Kerry.

For the early stages of the New York campaign, Weld has also tapped the Washington, D.C. advertising firm of Stevens & Schriefer that worked on his campaigns in Massachusetts.

Weld announced last month his aim to become only the second American to govern two separate states. Sam Houston governed Tennessee and then Texas in the 19th century.

Gray says the Weld strategy is to appeal to Republicans who think front-runner Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general, has gone ``too far'' in bashing corporations.

He should certainly have no difficulty raising money from the well-heeled on Wall Street: Spitzer has fined and humiliated almost every big money firm from Merrill Lynch to insurance giant AIG for misdeeds.

Still, the most recent polling gives Spitzer a commanding lead of 56 percent to 19 percent.

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