Monday, January 22, 2007

Clinton win would trigger Spitzer appointment for Senate

Newsday AP Story

I love the What if's kind of food for thought on this cold wintry type day.....andy

ALBANY, N.Y. -- If Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the White House in 2008, Gov. Eliot Spitzer would appoint a successor to fill her Senate seat for two years, a situation that has renewed speculation Robert F. Kennedy Jr. might one day follow in his father's political footsteps. Kennedy has long expressed an interest in the Senate seat from New York that was held by his father for more than three years until his assassination in 1968 as he pursued the Democratic presidential nomination. Kennedy, a New York-based environmental lawyer, did not immediately return a telephone message left for him Monday by The Associated Press. He briefly considered running for the seat in late 1998 after the late Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan announced he would not seek re-election in 2000. The Democratic nomination eventually went to Clinton who went on to become the only first lady elected to public office. On Saturday, Clinton announced she will seek the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.

Spitzer, who is backing fellow Democrat Clinton's White House bid, wasn't tipping his hand Monday about who might win his favor should he get to make a Senate appointment. "It is premature to even think about trying to fill the shoes of one of New York's great senators," said the new governor. "This state has a great tradition of sending tremendously capable advocates to Washington and that must always continue." Also frequently mentioned as possible Clinton replacements are two black politicians, Lt. Gov. David Paterson and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks of Queens. "Whenever somebody suggests you for a higher position, it's very flattering," Paterson told the AP. "Many of us act very coy about it, but inwardly we are very pleased to hear our names mentioned." "But it's like hot-stove baseball league speculation _ all those variables that have to come together," he said. "I'm going to take a day and enjoy that my colleagues in government and even people in the media have thought of me and then tomorrow I'm going to get back to work before my boss gets rid of me for lack of performance," the lieutenant governor added with a laugh.
Besides Kennedy, other Democrats who considered the 2000 Senate race before stepping aside are Andrew Cuomo, H. Carl McCall and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey of Westchester County. Cuomo, the elder son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, was a federal housing secretary during Bill Clinton's second presidential term. The younger Cuomo, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002, was elected state attorney general in November to replace Spitzer. McCall, the former state comptroller, was the Democratic Party's losing candidate for governor in 2002. Under state law, should Clinton be elected president, Spitzer would name a successor who would serve through 2010. An election would be held in November 2010 to determine who would serve the balance of Clinton's term, which ends in 2012. The last such Senate vacancy occurred when the elder Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles. Then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller appointed fellow Republican Charles Goddell to fill out the Senate term. In the November 1970 election, Conservative Party candidate James Buckley won a three-way race against Goddell and then-U.S. Rep. Richard Ottinger. In 1976, Moynihan ousted Buckley.

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