Cuomo passed over for Clinton's former Senate seat

By Chris Rizo | Jan 23, 2009

Andrew Cuomo (D)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline)-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was passed over Friday for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by newly-confirmed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Instead, New York Gov. David Paterson tapped U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Clinton as the Empire State's junior senator.

Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy, daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, were considered frontrunners for the seat. Kennedy abruptly withdrew her name this week from consideration.

Cuomo is the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and served as U.S. secretary of housing and urban development under former President Bill Clinton.

Throughout the selection process, Cuomo had declined to publicly express interest in the Senate seat.

Gillibrand served as Cuomo's special counsel when he was housing secretary. She also worked on Hillary Clinton's first Senate campaign in 2000.

"Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been a personal mentor and friend to me since I started my career in public service when I worked for him in HUD as his special counsel," Gillibrand said at the state Capitol announcement in Albany.

Gillibrand, widely considered to be a centrist Democrat, will join the state's senior senator, the liberal Chuck Schumer, in Washington.

Her appointment lasts until 2010, when a special election will be held to fill the final two years of Clinton's six-year term.

A poll earlier this month found that New Yorkers preferred Cuomo fill Clinton's seat in the Senate.

The Quinnipiac University poll indicates New York voters preferred Cuomo over Kennedy, 31 percent to 24 percent.

The poll of 1,664 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 8 to Jan. 19. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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