Opinion: A few ‘finalists’ for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat; N.Y. governor expects pick by weekend


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Soon, says David Paterson, soon.

New York’s Democratic governor, in Washington for tomorrow’s presidential inauguration, met with reporters today and indicated he would probably find someone to fill Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat ‘by this weekend.”

And, contrary to reports suggesting Paterson’s mind is made up (Caroline Kennedy), the governor insists he remains undecided.

Not only that, but he maintains there is not even a front-runner right now. (Again, supposedly, Caroline Kennedy.)

“I can say definitively I do not know who the next senator from New York is right now,” Paterson said. “I would swear it.”


He told reporters he might even meet with “a candidate or two” while in Washington before heading back to Albany, post-inaugural, to review questionnaires submitted by numerous applicants.

“I’m not leaning in one direction, but I think I’m focusing on a few candidates now who I think would be, in my mind, sort of finalists,” Paterson said.

How few? “I’m not going to give a number,” he replied. Nor did he offer any names.

Paterson did, however, offer a few insights into his thinking, noting that women make up more than half the population but hold only 17 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate -- a number that will fall by one when Clinton takes up her new Foggy Bottom residence as secretary of State.

“This can’t be a determining factor but is a valid point that women’s groups have raised,” Paterson said.

At the same time, Paterson continued, he has grown convinced the country’s economic problems are more than merely cyclical, meaning any Democrats he picks will have to deal with them for a number of years (presuming they’re capable of being reelected time and again, which is another criterion for his selection). “I’m giving it more credence than I did before,” Paterson said of the need for some economic creds.

While Kennedy has drawn most of the media attention -- for both good and ill, given a series of not-so-steady interviews, there are plenty of eager aspirants, including New York Atty. Gen Andrew Cuomo; Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Steve Israel and Kirsten Gillibrand; and Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi.

--Mark Z. Barabak

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