The abortion rights group EMILY's List said Wednesday it would endorse Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDemocratic groups gear up to use abortion rights as attack on GOP in 2020 2020 Democrats jockey over surging college costs Whip list: Who's clinched a spot in the 2020 Democratic debates MORE (D-N.Y.) in her 2010 special election bid to retain her seat in the Senate.

The group's endorsement locks up a key political and financial backer ahead of Gillibrand's 2010 reelection battle, in which she may face a challenge in the Democratic primary. Gillibrand must face a special election in 2010 to fill the remainder of the term to which Gov. David Paterson (D) appointed her following Hillary Rodham Clinton's resignation of the Senate to become Secretary of State.