Some big names are signing on to help challenge appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Word is that Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who has not yet officially announced her challenge, is just short of hiring Joe Trippi. Trippi is famous for—besides his presence on the Politics editorial board—his work with Howard Dean and John Edwards (and with today's Virginia gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran). Trippi would join Josh Isay (Knickerbocker SKD) and fundraiser Cindy Darrison. Also reported as close to signing on is Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, whose close ties to the Gillibrand-supporting Clintons makes for some drama.

Colorado state House Minority Whip Corey Gardner is gearing up for a U.S. congressional run in the state's fourth district against first-term Rep. Betsy Markey. Gardner has signed on Mike Ciletti (New West Public Affairs) as campaign manager and general consultant.

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