Friday, January 23, 2009

Clinton's Seat Filled

Gooooodbye Clinton/Kennedy, hellllo Gillibrand (Blue Dog Dem):

ALBANY - Gov. Paterson, defying the liberal wing of his Democratic Party, has chosen little-known, NRA-backed, upstate Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as New York's junior senator, it was learned last night.

The surprising - and, for many Democrats shocking - decision to pick the conservative Gillibrand, 42, from Hudson in Columbia County, was disclosed by the governor in calls to party officials and some members of the state's congressional delegation, many of whom said they were unhappy with the selection, sources said. ...

... The decision was a major rebuff to some of the state's best-known Democrats interested in Clinton's seat, including Attorney General and former federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, for whom Gillibrand once worked as a junior lawyer; Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, and Reps. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan and Steve Israel of Suffolk County.

Sources said "at least five" members of the state's Democratic congressional delegation called Paterson to protest the possibility of Gillibrand's selection. One, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of Nassau County, even threatened a primary challenge. Gillibrand faces a special election in 2010. ...

... Liberal Democrats have been wary of her because she ran for re-election with the backing of the National Rifle Association, opposed the federal TARP program to rescue banks, and has been less than enthusiastic about gay marriage.