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Will Oklahoma Okay An Ex-NY-er?

Back in Manhattan for cash.

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Andrew Rice, a 34-year-old onetime New Yorker, is trying to unseat Oklahoma’s crusty Republican senator James Inhofe (who claims global warming is a hoax and was “outraged by the outrage” over Abu Ghraib). Rice was in town last week to meet with Drum Major Institute head and major Dem donor William Wachtel, among other potential supporters. But Democratic senate-race chief Chuck Schumer wasn’t too supportive at first. “There were some concerns about my age,” says Rice, an Oklahoma state senator. “But they realized in talking with us that in Oklahoma it’s not really a hindrance. The state has a history of electing young politicians to governor and senator. And I exceeded their expectations on fund-raising.” Rice lived in New York from 1999 until 2002, leaving after his older brother, David, a banker, died in Tower 2 on September 11. That led Rice to politics. “There was a 9/11 steering committee of relatives who were advising the Kerry campaign,” he says. “He didn’t take a lot of our advice, unfortunately. Our theory was that he should have been very, very aggressive about the one area they thought Bush was untouchable on: 9/11 and terrorism.”

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