Paterson: I haven't picked a new senator yet

(Credit: Urbanite)

By Stephen J. Bronner

Special to amNewYork

Gov. David Paterson debunked reports yesterday that he’s already decided on Caroline Kennedy to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. senate.

"I can say, definitively, I do not know who the next senator from New

York is right now," Paterson said at a news conference yesterday,

according to the Albany Times Union. "I would swear to it."

He added, "I would figure that by this weekend, we would come up with a candidate."’

Paterson said that he’s still reviewing documents pertaining to the decision.

Clinton can be confirmed as secretary of state after Barack Obama

is sworn in as president today, clearing the way for Paterson's announcement.

Several unnamed senate contenders apparently told The New York Post in a story published yesterday that Paterson would choose Kennedy to avoid backlash from

her family and even Obama, who was supported by Kennedy during the

primaries.

Caroline Kennedy still hasn't been picked by David Paterson, nor has anyone else (AP Photo)The senate seat has become a hot issue since Clinton's appointment was

announced in December. Kennedy revealed her interest in the seat,

adding her prestigious name to a list of candidates who include state

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and

Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Steve Israel.

A Quinnipiac poll released last week showed New Yorkers now prefer

Cuomo for the job by a 31 to 24 percent margin. A similar poll a month

ago had Kennedy leading Cuomo by a 33 to 29 percent margin.

Voters do not get to choose who will fill in the senate seat. The

responsibility rests solely on Paterson, who told CNN's Larry King

Sunday, "It doesn't feel that way when I read the newspapers."

Paterson's choice will be seated until 2010, when they will face

election, which Paterson finds comforting.

"As much pressure as I feel to make this decision, the public has not

thought of these replacement senators as real incumbents," he told Larry King.

"I'm relieved by the fact, in a short period of time, 18 months, the

public will make the real decision."

Tags: caroline kennedy , hillary clinton , david paterson , andrew cuomo , tom suozzi , carolyn maloney , steve israel , barack obama , politics

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