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Bill Clinton wants to raise $83,000 for Owens race

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WASHINGTON — Add former President Bill Clinton to the list of heavy-hitting Democrats putting their weight behind Bill Owens.

Mr. Clinton pushed a 24-hour fundraising blitz for Mr. Owens on Thursday, urging Democrats to raise a total of $83,000 for the party's candidate in the 23rd Congressional District.

Two hours after sending the e-mail solicitation, the former president had reached half of his goal.

Mr. Owens is running against Republican Dierdre K. Scozzafava and Conservative candidate Douglas L. Hoffman.

Mr. Owens needs the money, Mr. Clinton wrote, to fend off attacks from the Republicans, who have spent as much as $500,000 already to defeat him.

In his letter, distributed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Mr. Clinton wrote, “With the media closely watching this race, victory or defeat will also be seen as a referendum on President Obama's agenda for health care and on our entire progressive agenda. So it's critical that we stand together as Democrats behind our candidate, Bill Owens.”

“I know something about tough political fights and this one will be a doozy. But I wouldn't be asking for your help if this race wasn't winnable,” he wrote, urging contributions of $5, $10 or more before Friday.

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