With Hillary Clinton about to pack her carpet bag again and head off to Washington, an interesting situation arises in New York with an unelected Senate replacement and an unelected Governor facing election in two years. This is an opportunity for New York to throw off the chains of the entrenched Democrat power elite and put a more conservative voice in the Senate.
The expected move of Hillary Clinton to Foggy Bottom will set off an intriguing parlor game among New York State Democrats. Whom will Governor Paterson appoint to succeed Clinton? And how will it affect the gubernatorial and senate races in New York in 2010?
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has long been seen as a likely primary opponent to Paterson in 2010, and given his famous name and fundraising base, he’s likely to offer a stiff challenge. Paterson will surely be tempted to dispatch Cuomo to Washington — if he’s willing to go.
Recent reports say Cuomo would turn the job down, but his attitude might change once the discussion moves past hypotheticals.
On the other hand, the New York State chapter of NOW wants a woman to succeed Clinton. That could boost the chance that New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn could become the first openly lesbian member of the U.S. Senate. And if all that speculation weren’t enough, the New York Post reports that Paterson and Senator Chuck Schumer may already have a deal to appoint a relative nobody to the spot. It seems that Schumer’s priority is that he get recognized as New York’s senior Senator, and Andrew Cuomo would be the only contender for the Senate seat to threaten that status. Schumer apparently wants a less high-profile junior Senator — someone like Buffalo Representative Brian Higgins, or Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand.