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Paterson Nears A Pick

New York Gov. David Paterson is nearing an announcement on his pick to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate, according to multiple sources, although the identity of the next Senator from New York remains shrouded in mystery.

Several Democratic sources the Fix spoke to this morning suggested that an announcement was likely before President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration next Tuesday.

"Very, very, very soon," said one Democratic Senate strategist when asked about the timing. Another party source said that the timing of Paterson's announcement was moving "quicker" in recent days but could offer no specifics on the exact timing of the pick.

Paterson's office did not return a call seeking comment.

Paterson's timing is tied directly to the speedy confirmation of Clinton as Secretary of State. After her smooth confirmation hearing on Monday, Clinton's nomination was approved this morning by a vote of 16-1 and sent for a full vote on the Senate floor. That vote is expected by Tuesday afternoon, according to the Post's Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane.

While several sources offered insight on the timing of the pick, there was a decided lack of information about who it might be as Paterson has played his choice VERY close to the vest.

Paterson has said only that he has interviewed 15 people for the job (our understanding is that each person got a single meeting with the governor).

Conventional wisdom still dictates that Caroline Kennedy is the frontrunner for the nod and although Paterson was initially resistant to the idea he seems to have warmed to the idea of late -- proclaiming himself "impressed" with her. (We've made the case for and against Paterson picking Kennedy.)

The other names generally seen as leading candidates for the appointment are Reps. Kirstin Gillibrand and Steve Israel as well as New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

A new Marist poll shows Cuomo as the preferred pick of New Yorkers. Forty percent said they would like to see Paterson choose Cuomo, the son of the former governor of the Empire State, while 25 percent named Kennedy. No other candidate received double-digit support.

Even that list, however, may be insufficient as no one seems to know the mind of Paterson on the matter and even those who know him well caution that he is decidedly unpredictable in his decision-making.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 15, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Re the comment about African American candidates, media in Albany has mentioned the mayor of Buffalo is being considered. So, apparently, is a woman, a legislator, from Puerto Rico.

All the attention on Kennedy and Cuomo has caused other people to be overlooked by most media people.

Posted by: kateinNY | January 16, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

It is too bad that there are not any qualified Black candidates in the entire state of New York for Gov. Patterson to consider. It would be nice if we had more than one Black Senator in the Senate. I guess that would be too much to ask.

I wholeheartedly support Caroline Kennedy for the Senate. I hope the governor will be strong enough and bold enough to do it!

Posted by: jasminelmontaque | January 16, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

If Paterson does not select Kennedy, I'll have to wonder if she would've had a better shot if she had not announced her desire for the seat. Perhaps she sees her tactic as "can't lose": she's either getting the job now or she's setting herself up for a 2010 run.

I think Paterson's looking hard at Gillibrand. She's a winner, a fundraiser, and, most importantly, an upstater. Downstate is making a big enough noise statewide already, what with Schumer, Cuomo, and Paterson, himself.

Posted by: dognabbit | January 15, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Hoping he appoints anyone other than Kennedy. As others have noted, she is neither deserving or qualified. It's also time we ended the Kennedy's run in American politics. They haven't helped much, actually causing more harm than good starting with Jack. Upstate New Yorkers would be overjoyed I'm sure, to have a native New York citizen appointed to the position.

Posted by: surfer-joe | January 15, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I think Paterson made a huge mistake in taking his time to make a selection. Initially, voters would have been happy with either Cuomo or Kennedy; Paterson’s political stock would have risen dramatically regardless of which one he picked. Now the battle lines are drawn--even though it’s not an election--in the 8 weeks since Obama announced Clinton’s selection as Secretary of State, voters have developed a strong preference for one candidate. Paterson now stands to lose some political stock for his pick. Worse, if Paterson picks someone altogether different, all heck going to break loose.

Posted by: txgall | January 15, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree w/ Cormac that the pundits are tying to create a fait accompli for Paterson. For some reason (probably as an adjunct of their support for BO), they are trying to MAKE this appointment happen by predicting it. It will be interesting to see if Paterson succumbs to this pressure. I've read hundreds of blog comments on this issue. If Paterson is aware of the sentiments of the voting public he will not appoint Kennedy. There is widespread agreement that she is neither qualified (as measured by her disastrous interviews) nor deserving, given that she has never participated in the political arena (she doesn't even VOTE!).

Posted by: YellaDog | January 15, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

In my previous posting, I meant to say "columnists," plural, not "columnist, singular. I did not mean to suggest that this particular columnist, Chris Cillizza was somehow conspicuously more irresponsible than his colleagues.

Posted by: CormacNYC | January 15, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Governor said probably after the Inauguration and he has pretty much maintained his announced timetable from day 1.

This is a case where you wonder how Conventional Wisdom is made. I have nothing against the idea of Kennedy as Senator (she seems an excellent choice to me) but I have always believed she was a longer shot than others. The Governor has never given any indication that she is "the frontrunner," in his mind (where the competition is) and there seems to be little objective reason for believing she is.

It seems to me that the only authoritative voice on this is Patterson's and he has been silent. Nevertheless, the press has said Kennedy was "a done deal," "fading," "very close," "in trouble," and "almost certain," "blown it," and still in."

Where do you get this stuff, the "psychic friends?"

The fact is that the reporting on the NY appointment has been very bad and the columnist downright irresponsible. You created your own imaginary state of play, whole cloth, and then reported breathlessly on changes. It doesn't have anything to do with reality. Never has.

Posted by: CormacNYC | January 15, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

He should shake the whole thing up and put Rudy in there. Now that would be fun to watch!

Posted by: WhigParty | January 15, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

New Yorkers in action!

New Yorkers and ImprovEverywhere making run at YouTube History!

No Pants Subway Ride 2009 - Views: 467,181 in two days
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9La40WwO-lU

Just Vote

Paterson, Schumer, Kennedy and the New York Democratic Congressional Delegation in 2010 and 2012

Posted by: cooday | January 15, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"How much $$$ ?"

An impossible sum. He demanded the lint from a dozen navel-gazing Repbulicans' navels. The nomination process has been stalled due to the candidates' inability to find enough qualifying Repubs.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 15, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

If any group is non-existent, it is honest Democrats.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 15, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

When did this blog become ad space for DC tour groups?!

Here's the scenario Chris...the governor is too deep into it to get out of naming Caroline to the short seat. One of the factors--should Ted succumb in the next two year--sentiment for having a Kennedy arry on the legacy. Going forward, Andrew comes out in the NYS Democratic primary and handily defeats her, setting up his own run for the Senate. Long, long view...possible Clinton-Cuomo showdown for the WH in 2016.

Posted by: InRealAmerica | January 15, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

How much $$$ ?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 15, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if he picks Cuomo just to make sure that he doesn't try and challenge Paterson for Governor in 2 years.

Although I think picking a woman would definitly help him too. My vote is for Gillibrand cause she kind of looks like Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 15, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse


If any group is underrepresented in the Senate, it's us Italian-Americans. Cuomo for Senate.

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