MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Wednesday night that she will run to take the place of U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) in Congress.

McCarthy also endorsed Rice for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday night.

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Rice has attracted national attention for her crackdowns on drunken driving and cheating on college entrance exams.

She won a third term by a double-digit margin last November.

Political pundits said the race for the open congressional seat could be one to watch. A spokesman for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee calls the district “a likely pickup opportunity for a strong Republican candidate.”

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McCarthy said this month she will not run for a 10th term. She has been battling lung cancer.

McCarthy, a lifelong resident of Mineola, was first elected to Congress in 1996. She has been a staunch gun control advocate since her husband was killed and her son was seriously wounded in the Dec. 7, 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre.

McCarthy, 70, has introduced gun control legislation throughout her career, including in the aftermath of the Tucson, Ariz. shooting rampage that left fellow Rep. Gabrielle Giffords seriously injured. Wednesday marks the third anniversary of the Tucson mass shooting incident.

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