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NY-Sen: Caroline's Out, Who's Next?

UPDATE, 5:18 p.m.: Gov. David Paterson's office issued a statement moments ago that made clear he remains undecided on the identity of the next Senator from New York. "The Governor is now entering the final phase of his selection process," said Errol Cockfield. "He has not informed any Senate candidates that they have not been selected, nor has any information gathered during this selection process created a necessity for any candidate to withdraw."

Original Post

The news -- formally delivered in a one-sentence statement at 12:07 this morning (ugh) -- that Caroline Kennedy had withdrawn from consideration as the next senator from New York leaves a process that was already unpredictable even more opaque.

While Gov. David Paterson insisted he had yet to make up his mind, conventional wisdom seemed to be congealing around the idea that Kennedy would ultimately be the pick. She was widely seen as the preferred choice of President Barack Obama and it was hard to fathom that Paterson would turn down the newly inaugurated president (not to mention the first family of Democratic politics) and not select Kennedy.

Her withdrawal changes the calculus entirely, a change that comes just one day before Paterson is expected to make his decision public. (Reports differ on the timing -- but most people believe it will be tomorrow; some sources Saturday.)

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said he has spoken with both Kennedy and Paterson in recent days, adding that a final decision was not "too long a distance away".

Who will Paterson pick? Divining the mind of Paterson is a fool's errand (as evidenced by the coverage over the last 24 hours) but there appear to be two frontrunners: Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Here's a quick rundown on each:

* Kirsten Gillibrand: First elected to a Republican-leaning Albany area House seat in 2006, Gillibrand is a rare combination: an Upstate candidate who raises money like a candidate from New York City. Paterson has made no secret of his desire to appoint a woman or a minority candidate to the post and Gillibrand is cast by many who know her as a natural heir to the legacy of Hillary Clinton. (One darkhorse if Paterson wants a woman not named Gilibrand: American Federation of Teachers head honcho Randi Weingarten). Gillibrand's biggest problem? She has limited legislative experience and is an unknown figure statewide.

* Andrew Cuomo: When Clinton was nominated by President Obama as his Secretary of State, the general sense among New York sharps was that Cuomo, the son of the popular former governor of the Empire State, would be the appointee. His star was outshone for a time by Kennedy , but Cuomo weathered the press storm and is once again presumed to be at the top (or very close to it) of Paterson's list. Cuomo has no obvious next political step in New York politics -- it seems nearly impossible that he would enter the primary against Paterson in 2010 -- and so the Senate might be a good fit for him. He would bring stature, statewide name identification and a national fundraising base to the job. But, over the years, Cuomo has gained a reputation as a political animal always looking out for number one. (No shame in that, we say.) Does Paterson want to put a free agent like Cuomo on the ballot beside him as he seeks a full term in 2010?

Stay tuned. The plates are shifting in New York politics as we speak.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 22, 2009; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Wag the Blog Redux: The Geithner Dilemma


Gotta be some other kennedy's left

Posted by: leapin | January 23, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The second runner up is not who the people chose. The person who lost to Hillary Clinton is the person the people REJECTED. Big difference.

Posted by: netgotham | January 22, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

To be politically correct the second runner up should be the new senator especially if the current senator quit. That's who the people chose.

Posted by: shuttdlrl | January 22, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Earlier I said bet on Maloney. I was wrong. It's Gillibrand. Done deal.

Posted by: netgotham | January 22, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I am as left as they come- but have never been a fan of the Kennedys
they are liberal when it is expedient, mostly they are self-serving
Jack ran on an aggressive "beef up the army" platform against Nixon- his administration was a series of disasters for the first 2 years until he got it somewhat together and he would have been considered charismatic but not have been considered a great president without Oswald- it was actually Johnson who drove through all of the civil rights and great society legislation; it was Kennedy who really made us a presence in Vietnam.

Robert ran a nice campaign in 68 but lets not forget that he was McCarthy's #1 guy in the communist trials and his involvement with the mob and other things as AG

Edward drowned a woman and ran off- that should get jail time, it will never be excusable. He was also involved in his nephews rape case 30 years later- William Kennedy Smith- in addition to this he was self serving and acted like a child in 1980 when he had only 600 delegates and still mistreated Carter- handing the election to Reagan. He used the Clintons when they were useful and then to deny them power backed Barak with his neice, who had previously given (a rare for her) donation (actually the max $2500) to HRC. This was probably a political trade for the endorsement.

Posted by: nycLeon | January 22, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

How about Robert DeNiro or Al Pacino?

Posted by: twin_pin | January 22, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, usually the smartest guy in the room.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Good Riddance Caroline- you had no right to stick yourself in the running for the seat to begin with- you haven't even consistently VOTED over the last 24 years- a minimum requirement for engagement- it ain't just about name to be my state's senator
My preference is Rep. Nadia Valasquez of Brooklyn, she had withdrawn her name but only because Caroline was in there- she would make a fine senator. Nita Lowey is also good. Of course, Andrew Cuomo works- but it would be nice to replace HRC with a woman as there are so few in the Senate.


Posted by: nycLeon | January 22, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Gillibrand is a henchman. Paterson put a henchman on the ticket.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 22, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Seems that Dems have a hard time moving through the Senate appointment gracefully and without drama...

Will we ever know the real story of why Caroline dropped out? Seems cheap on her part to blame Ted's health, but Paterson's aides bringing up "problems" with taxes and housekeepers seems a lazy ploy ripped from, the Geithner headlines.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 22, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

The best candidate no one is talking about is Rep. Louise Slaughter from Rochester. She's smart, dedicated, reliably democratic, represents her district well, and knows the legislative process. Unfortunately, she's in her 70's and as chair of the House Rules Committee, well, becoming a junior senator would be a demotion.

Another dark horse is Rep. Brian Higgins from the Buffalo area - he was mentioned early, but faded with the talk of Kennedy or another female candidate.

Quite honestly, I'm not familiar w/ Gillibrand's record in congress or before. I know this is parochial, but I'd be happy with almost anyone who is NOT from NYC, Westchester, or Long Island. (That Clinton and Schumer actually visited Upstate NY - yup, that's what we call it here in the Rochester area - and spoke about Upstate issues was quite novel. I'm skeptical we could be so lucky again.) I figure the NYC area is reliably democratic regardless; a democrat who knows how to run in a republican leaning district would be a plus in this area.

But it will probably be Cuomo - the dynasty lives.

Posted by: -pamela | January 22, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

It could very well be some personal reason such as problems with taxes or a nanny issue which lead caroline kennedy to withdraw her name from consideration by gov. patterson . I think it may have been a more calculated political move then that. She may believe she may not be ready for the senate yet and would be only around for two years. She has the name recognition of any incumbent so why not spend these next 2 years building a political resume and have a legitimate shot of winning in 2010,with a chance of re-election.

Posted by: velascojoaquin | January 22, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Princess Carolina should never have been considered. The fact that she has that she had the gaul to even ask for it- to go around the state and try to convince people to give it to her- is a joke in itself.

What is in a name. A Kennedy by any other name would be as entitled.

Posted by: rightPOV | January 22, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh, darn. I was soooo looking forward to the next election cycle, when I would help a Republican senator from the great state of New York. I was thinking of Peter King, or an upstate pol who would wipe the floor with Kennedy.

I've been giddy over the appointment of Kennedy, a socialite who --

* has never held a real job in her life

* couldn't find Syracuse on a map without using GoogleEarth

* cares so much about New York politics that she has contributed maybe a buck fifty to New York political campaigns in her life and has actively supported the campaigns of ... none

We just lived through a primary in which people proclaimed that we'd suffered from too much political aristocracy. Now, they proclaim the Kennedy legacy a *good* reason to make Caroline a senator. So a political aristocracy is except when it's for the Kennedys, an even older aristocracy, in which case it's good?

Some of the same hypocrites said that Hillary Clinton had "no real experience" because her main claim to office was "being married to the President." (Ignore, of course, her service as senator, her years of professional accomplishment, and her leadership of the Children's Defense Fund.) But Caroline Kennedy is qualified to be a senator because ... she is the offspring of a former president's family? (Is this a DNA thing?)

I was really, truly hoping to see Patterson name Kennedy the new senator. I couldn't believe he'd be stupid enough to do it, but I was hopeful.

Posted by: Antistrophos | January 22, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Gillibrand has bigger problems than her lack of name recognition. Here's the latest from ROLL CALL:

On Thursday, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D), who rose to political prominence after the shooting death of her husband in 1993, told the New York Times that if Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) is appointed to the Senate, she would mount a primary challenge next year against Gillibrand. McCarthy, who has made the push for stricter gun-control measures the central cause of her Congressional career, cited Gillibrand's support from the National Rifle Association as the reason why she would run against her House colleague. McCarthy's husband was one of several people killed on a Long Island Railroad car during an evening rush hour when a gunman opened fire on the crowd. Her son was injured in the shooting spree.

"To have a Senator representing the NRA for New York, that would be wrong," McCarthy told the Times. "If it comes down to that, I will primary in 2010."

McCarthy said she would alternatively support a younger candidate who supports gun-control measures if someone else came forward to run against Gillibrand.

McCarthy's remarks come on the heels of a piece published in the liberal Village Voice newspaper Thursday questioning Gillibrand’s Democratic credentials. The article touched on Gillibrand's voting record on gun-control issues but also described the close ties between Gillibrand's father, Albany lobbyist Douglas Rutnik, and several prominent New York Republicans, including former Sen. Al D'Amato and former Gov. George Pataki.

It also suggested that Gillibrand's first Congressional race against then-Rep. John Sweeney (R) was secretly aided by Pataki allies. Gillibrand represents a conservative upstate district and has been unabashed about her support for gun owners' rights.

Posted by: fugitivenyc | January 22, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Agree that Gillibrand is a bad choice. Cuomo would be much better.

Gillibrand is not a dependable Democratic vote. Plus, her district tilts Republican in registered voters, so that seat would become vulnerable if she is appointed. I don't think NYC folks would be thrilled with her appointment as she is not an urban person. She is likely to face a primary challenge from a NYC progressive if appointed.

Cuomo is much more of a typical mainstream New York Democrat. Plus he brings much more name-recognition and fundraising strength. He'd be more electable. He should be the choice. However, Patterson seems dumb enough to appoint the wrong person.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | January 22, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Kristin Gillibrand would be a TERRIBLE choice. For one thing, she represented the tobacco industry in cases where they denied nicotine addiction existed and fought government legislation. Second, she's the daughter of an old school Albany pol and lobbyist and would never have gotten her nomination without dad's intervention. Third, her first term was all noise and press releases without much substance. New York would be wasting a vote in the Senate with her as the replacement to Hillary.

Posted by: jfiorillo | January 22, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Patterson is an idiot. How long does it take him to make up his mind? Like Blago,he is savoring this "power move",dragging it out, making it a media circus. Today it's caroline, yesterday it is someone else. Caroline Kennedy was vilified by the press, with some help from the Clintons , (payback is a b###), because of her family, which has given so much and continues to give to America. It is a disgrace the way she was treated. Do we want "shuck and jive" Cuomo? She vetted the VP's, so I don't believe the crap about her "vetting problems." I think she got sick of being kicked around by the governor's office and the press. She should have been appointed, been at the Inauguration, with her uncle, when he had that seizure. She is qualified. Everyone knows it. Patterson, whoever he picks, is the loser here. Caroline does not need the seat, we needed her. Shame on all you political pundits with your pronouncements on her candidacy. Without her letter in the NYT and her uncle's endorsement, Obama would not be President.

Posted by: anitapreer | January 22, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Chappaquiddick. That's relevant.

That was before Watergate, no? (Chappaquiddick 1969, Watergate 1972-74). As in 39 years ago?

Behold the desperation of partisan Republicans. If they had something constructive to offer in this moment of national crisis, I can't believe they'd be yammering about 39 year old scandals.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 22, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Wake me when there's news... zzzzzz

Posted by: whocares666 | January 22, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I would very much like to see Carolyn Maloney get it, as her dues are fully paid, but I still think Paterson will make the self-interested choice and give it to Cuomo.

Posted by: Itzajob | January 22, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Bet on Carolyn Maloney.

Posted by: netgotham | January 22, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to KateinNY, Plattsburgh or Massena would be "upstate". Anything and everything north of the Bronx (or Yonkers, anyway) and south of Canada is "upstate". ;-)

Posted by: Itzajob | January 22, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

It will be Cuomo, I think, because if Paterson doesn't name Cuomo, then Cuomo will run against him in 2010. And this appointment mess has made him look really bad and very vulnerable.

Posted by: Itzajob | January 22, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

P.S. The governor's office says he will make an announcement tomorrow, Friday, at noon in Albany.

Posted by: kateinNY | January 22, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's tough to post here, when it's not a NY based political blog. Things get simplified.

I'd like to see the appointment of a person from north of NYC -- upstate is a NYC way of referring to the rest of the state that I don't accept.

I would be happy with Gillibrand or the mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown. Look at a map. Albany and Buffalo are in the middle of the state, north to south.

I wonder what people in NYC call the Plattsburgh or Massena areas. Again, look at a map.

It will be over soon, this appointment soap opera.

Posted by: kateinNY | January 22, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

You didn't read that statement carefully. It allows for the possibility that the Governor has already made his selection and has already informed the selection that he or she has been selected. The statement merely says that the Governor has not informed any candidate that such candidate has not been selected. If the statement allows such a reading, then such a reading is almost certainly so. And all the candidates who previously had not been informed that they were not selected now know it -- any candidate who has not been informed has not been selected.

Posted by: netgotham | January 22, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: arrabbiato | January 22, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

holy mackerel, the Mary Jo Kopeckne story. I remember it.
Yes, it was as if the Kennedys "got by on that one" AGAIN.
How about Marilyn? Peter Lawford and Bobby Kennedy went to her house in secret the night she died. It is alleged that they made her "drink a cocktail". (why no residue in the stomach).

But as for Caroline, actually, it was a good choice. It is for the best. She would have been surrounded with dissent because of not "running".

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 22, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

If things are wide open about Christine Quinn, the speaker of the NYC council?

Posted by: Bondosan | January 22, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: astuteobserver | January 22, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

fugitivenyc writes
"People complain that Caroline used her family name to position herself for the Senate appointment. Um, where would Andrew be were his last name not Cuomo? Give me a break."

A valid point, but a critical difference is that Cuomo has already won statewide election & performed well in public service.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 22, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse


The Chappaquiddick incident refers to the circumstances surrounding the 1969 death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a former staff member in Senator Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. Edward Kennedy was driving a car with Kopechne as his passenger when Kennedy drove off Dike Bridge into Poucha Pond between Chappaquiddick Island and Cape Poge barrier beach. Kennedy swam to safety, but Kopechne died in the car. Kennedy left the scene and did not call authorities until after Kopechne's body was discovered the following day. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was sentenced to two months in jail, suspended.
In January 1970, an inquest into Kopechne's death took place in Edgartown, Massachusetts. At the request of Kennedy's lawyers, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the inquest be conducted in secret. Judge James A. Boyle presided over the inquest and his conclusion was that "negligent driving appears to have contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne."
Under Massachusetts law, Boyle could have ordered Kennedy's arrest, but he chose not to do so. District Attorney Dinis chose not to pursue Kennedy for manslaughter.

Posted by: TIMNGUYEN1 | January 22, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

People complain that Caroline used her family name to position herself for the Senate appointment. Um, where would Andrew be were his last name not Cuomo? Give me a break.

From the beginning, Paterson should have made it clear that he would be DISINCLINED to appoint someone who campaigns publicly for the appointment. Capitulating to the whims of public opinion polls makes him look weak and indecisive.

Posted by: fugitivenyc | January 22, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TIMNGUYEN1 | January 22, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

By the way, if Madame Tussauds can come up with an accurate enough representation of Pat Moynihan, I believe that a few anointings with good Irish whiskey might bring it to life, and make Paterson's choice easier.

It would be nice to have Pat back.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 22, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

What's the holdup with Paterson? Is there a colossal tug of war going on among his advisors, or his left and right frontal lobes?

I know we're all surfeited with decisiveness for its own sake after eight years of what's-his-name in the White House - but Paterson seems Hamlet-like to manifest the opposite fault.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 22, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

This piece misperceives the stakes for Patterson. Appointing Cuomo to the Senate would remove him from competition for the Governorship--a good thing from Paterson's point of view. On the other hand, if Cuomo would not, in any case, run against Patterson in the primary, then, appointing Cuomo to the Senate would be the wrong move for Patterson, because it would require appointing a new Attorney General, thus weakening Patterson's own ticket.

Posted by: rjoff | January 22, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Paterson says he is looking at 10 or so New Yorkers. Why not take him at his word? Our pick: Cong. Jerrold Nadler. But most of the other names are solid citizens who have patiently waited their turn and would be just fine.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"There SEEM to be two front runners? There APPEAR to be two front runners? How are you still employed by the Post when you haven't even gone to 2nd grade grammar school? (Hint: add an s)"

NO! In both the sentences, "there" is not the subject. "Frontrunners" is the subject, so the verb should be in the plural form ("seem" or "appear").

Posted by: hlef | January 22, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Cuomo is one of those 'inevitable-but-you-can't-stand him' types like Eliot Spitzer was.

New York can do better.

Posted by: stivgdgy | January 22, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

well, lauren, if you had bailed out the New York Times instead of Carlos Slim, perhaps the reporters, at your direction, could have gotten it right.

things as they are, the reporters seem to have been following the story, which was based on the signals from Paterson, his public comments and the leaks from his office. in the msm coverage, it seems that cuomo was always mentioned in the same breath as kennedy, in part because of his name recognition and in part because of the trumped up divorce drama/family vendetta. other candidates were mentioned (remember people positing the long shot Louise Slaughter before she came out in support of kennedy?), but there wasn't sufficient investigation because it seemed like Paterson was going to pick Kennedy. on the blogs i read, most people, though they didn't put forward alternative candidates, were complaining about kennedy's lack of experience, which implicitly calls for another candidate to be examined.

my money is on gillibrand. besides the fact that she's a woman, she's also an "unknown." though lauren is upset about this, it's probably exactly what chuck schumer is looking for. i wouldn't underestimate his opinions.

Posted by: plathman | January 22, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse


Last updated: 4:32 pm
January 22, 2009
Posted: 3:02 am
January 22, 2009

In a stunning revelation, a source close to Gov. David Paterson insisted this afternoon that the governor "had no intention" of picking Caroline Kennedy for New York's vacant senate seat - because she was "mired" in an issue over taxes, her nanny and possibly her marriage.

Kennedy was "mired in some potentially embarrassing personal issues," the source said, citing tax liabilities and worker compensation liabilities connected to the employment of a nanny.

The source also said the state of her marriage may have presented a problem as well.

"She has a tax problem that came up in the vetting and a potential nanny issue," the soruce said. "And reporters are starting to look at her marriage more closely," the soruce continued, refusing to provide any specifics.

Gossip columns have reported for more than a year that Kennedy's marriage to Ed Schlossberg is essentially over, and the gossip site has reported rumors that she's been linked to New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger.

Posted by: arrabbiato | January 22, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Bloomberg would be the best choice.

Posted by: info4 | January 22, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Gosh. Maybe Chelsea Clinton will consider it.

Posted by: mikedow1 | January 22, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Caroline Kennedy never seemed like a natural-- her manner when out in public was restrained or even aloof, not eager or enthusiastic about meeting the voters. She wasn't a gifted public speaker, either. Without a knack for campaigning, how could she expect to keep the seat?

She would have done fine with fundraising but money isn't everything; if she couldn't handle actually running for office, a billion dollars wouldn't get her into the Senate on her own juice.

I suspect that either she recognized her own shortcomings in this regard or there were major issues (about which we may or may not hear) that affected her decision far more than her uncle's uncertain health. While I admire Ted Kennedy a great deal, there's nothing in the Constitution about any willing Kennedy being gifted with a seat in Congress.

Posted by: dbitt | January 22, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

There SEEM to be two front runners? There APPEAR to be two front runners? How are you still employed by the Post when you haven't even gone to 2nd grade grammar school? (Hint: add an s)

Posted by: needgrammarschool | January 22, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I feel almost certain that Governer Patterson has given Kennedy the heads up that he did not choose her, so that she can gracefully withdraw ahead of the announcement as a face saving measure. Why else would she have so suddenly pulled out. It doesn't make sense any other way.

Posted by: adamjacobbryant | January 22, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I argued on my blog that we should have been talking about alternative candidates all along. The media just was not prepared for a non-Caroline nomination.

You called Gillibrand an "unknown." That unknown-ness is a direct product of how this nomination process has been covered. If she's thought to be on the short list, the media should have been making a serious effort to introduce her to the public over the past month.

Check out my post on this (circa before Caroline bowed out):

Posted by: laurenahenry | January 22, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

i think obama realized that there would be too many er's uhhh,s and you knows if caronline's speaking was added to obama's

Posted by: newagent99 | January 22, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

New York is an expensive place to compete, yeah, yeah, bleah, bleah, does anyone expect a Republican to win a US Senate there 2 years from now? Even if they are a poor fundraiser and their Republican opponent has limitless funds? Patterson needs to appoint whoever will help him the most/not run against him in a primary.

Posted by: caribis | January 22, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Paterson is a moron. He drew this appointment out, grand standing and acting, and the Kennedy's had enough self respect to get out of the game. Anyone supporting Paterson after this is a fool. This guy is toast.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | January 22, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

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