Kirsten Gillibrand is backing Grace Meng for Congress, unofficially

Kirsten Gillibrand and Grace Meng. (Reid Pillifant)
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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand seems to have a preferred candidate in the race to succeed Gary Ackerman.

After an event on equal pay at N.Y.U. Law this morning, Gillibrand posed for photos with Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who said she was absorbing positive energy from the senator and Councilwoman Letitia James.

"We're making sure you win," Gillibrand told Meng.

Gillibrand had just told a mostly female crowd of about 100 that they should seek out less-senior women in their own field and offer them guidance on how to succeed in a male-dominated world. Her words to Meng seemed to be offered in that spirit.

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As the women mixed up for various groups photos, Gillibrand gave Meng a serious look and told her to "keep fighting" to get to Congress.

A spokesman declined to say whether Gillibrand would make a formal endorsement in the race, but the senator has made electing women a key part of her political profile. Last year she launched an initiative called "Off the Sidelines," to encourage women to run for office.

Meng isn't the only woman in the primary for the new sixth congressional district: Councilwoman Liz Crowley is also a candidate. Assemblyman Rory Lancman is also running.