Little-known congresswoman picked for Clinton seat

jetsetter

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ALBANY, N.Y. ? Instantly opening a rift among New York Democrats, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand ? a little-known, pro-gun Democrat from a rural Republican district ? won appointment Friday to the Senate seat left vacant by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Gov. David Paterson announced his choice a day after presumed front-runner Caroline Kennedy ? a woman with considerably more star power but less experience ? mysteriously dropped out of contention in an embarrassing turn of events that touched off sniping between the governor and the Kennedy camp.

Gillibrand, at 42, will be the youngest member of the Senate and one of 17 women in the chamber. The second-term congresswoman will assume the seat once held by Kennedy's uncle Robert F. Kennedy as well as by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

"For many in New York state, this is the first time you've heard my name and you don't know much about me," said Gillibrand (pronounced JILL-ih-brand). "Over the next two years, you will get to know me. And, more importantly, I will get to know you."

Before the governor even took the podium to introduce Gillibrand, anti-gun crusader Rep. Carolyn McCarthy said she would challenge Gillibrand in the Democratic primary next year, or find someone who would. Gillibrand has a 100 percent voting record with the National Rifle Association.

McCarthy, a Long Island Democrat who ran for Congress after her husband was shot to death and her son wounded in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre, said someone with such a record should not be the next senator from New York.

"The majority of New Yorkers believe in trying to reduce gun violence," she said.

Her complaint was echoed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent who has been one of the nation's most vocal gun control advocates. In a statement, the mayor noted his "strong disagreement with one area of her record as a member of Congress: illegal guns."

Bloomberg and McCarthy said Gillibrand co-sponsored legislation to deny information cities and police need to track illegal gun use. The legislation passed in the House but was never considered by the Senate, McCarthy said.

At the news conference, Gillibrand commended McCarthy for her "outstanding leadership in fighting against gun violence and keeping our children safe," and added: "I pledge to work with her on her signature bill for updating background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals." Gillibrand said she would support gun control "but also protect our hunters' rights."

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

In picking Gillibrand, the governor passed over a number of better-known and more accomplished politicians, including New York City Rep. Carolyn Maloney and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Paterson cited Gillibrand's work ethic, background as a securities lawyer and knowledge of issues important to New York. He stressed that he didn't choose her because she was a woman or from upstate New York.

Several of those passed over didn't attend the news conference, even after the governor summoned New York's congressional delegation to Albany. Cuomo was among the no-shows, even though Gillibrand worked for him as legal counsel when he was housing secretary under President Bill Clinton.

Paterson "has likely engendered the wrath ? privately, if not publicly ? of a great number of prominent Democratic officials who would have liked the job themselves," said Steven Greenberg, a Siena College pollster.

President Barack Obama issued a statement praising the choice, saying Gillibrand would be a "strong voice for transparency and reform in government."

Clinton, whose nomination for secretary of state was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday, also offered praise for Gillibrand, who worked on Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign.

"Kristen is an intelligent and dedicated public servant and a dear friend. I'm pleased that this seat, which has been my great honor to hold ... will be in such capable hands," Clinton said.

Meanwhile, the "personal reasons" that Kennedy cited in dropping out of contention remained a mystery.

A friend of Kennedy's who was involved in the selection process said Kennedy had a "minor issue with a nanny" that the governor's staff found to be irrelevant. The friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, also said Kennedy had a $615 city tax lien that was settled in 1994 but no other tax problems.

Gillibrand, a married mother of two sons, modeled her own political career after Clinton's.

Her father is one of the most powerful lobbyists in the state capital, and she is the granddaughter of Polly Noonan, an intimate of the legendary Albany Mayor Erastus Corning.

After Gillibrand worked in New York City for a white-shoe law firm with long ties to the Democratic Party, Clinton introduced her to deep-pocketed donors and vouched for her as a candidate.

As a lawmaker, she has projected a down-home image in tune with her rural district, which stretches from Lake Placid past the state capital of Albany. Besides the backing of the NRA, she has the strong support of the New York Farm Bureau, which described her as "a leading advocate for agriculture in Washington." Her Web site's homepage includes a picture of cows.

Gillibrand beat Republican Rep. John Sweeney in 2006 in a nasty campaign and won again last fall against a former state Republican chairman in the GOP district.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090124/ap_on_re_us/ny_senate_seat

An interesting choice and an unexpected surprise.:cool:

Edit: Carolyn McCarthy is a crazy bitch.
 
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Firecat

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I'll have to look into her history a little further. Obama needs his seat replaced - fill it with a black guy. Hillary needs her seat replaced - fill it with a blonde woman.

Coincidence?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncXolrPuFhA[/youtube]
 

Seasonone

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Better than "pick me because of my last name" Caroline Kennedy. What does she have other than a dad who got sniped?
 

Plissken

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Edit: Carolyn McCarthy is a crazy bitch.

I think you'll find that having your husband shot dead and son severely injured by a guy with a gun* tends to do that to you.



*Which he appears to have legally owned. Is that correct?
 

Shawn

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What does she have other than a dad who got sniped?

Well, if dead family members is any kind of merit, Caroline has got a lot of it. :p


How come senate seats don't have byelections in the US? If a congressman was to pass, would his replacement also be by appointment until the next regularly scheduled election?
 

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How come senate seats don't have byelections in the US?
Because the American public isn't coordinated enough for that sort of heads-up election. Or we don't care enough to change the way it's done. Either one.
 

jetsetter

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I think you'll find that having your husband shot dead and son severely injured by a guy with a gun* tends to do that to you.



*Which he appears to have legally owned. Is that correct?

That is no excuse for being crazy/stupid on the issue.
 

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Shawn

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Because the American public isn't coordinated enough for that sort of heads-up election. Or we don't care enough to change the way it's done. Either one.

But I see on Wikipedia, for representatives they just hold by-elections. I see Rahm Emmanuel's seat is up in April of '09 for instance.

So what I was wondering was why there was a difference between the two houses of Congress in terms of how members are replaced.
 

Firecat

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Because the constitution states that representatives of the house must be chosen by the people. Senators are chosen by the State legislature, which was changed by the seventeenth amendment (to allow for elections).
 

Plissken

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That is no excuse for being crazy/stupid on the issue.

Of course not. I mean, she should just shrug it off. Like when America shrugged off the Sept 11th attacks. Oh hang on...
 

jetsetter

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Of course not. I mean, she should just shrug it off. Like when America shrugged off the Sept 11th attacks. Oh hang on...

She doesn't know anything about firearms and that is the problem. Don't believe me, just listen to her speeches. If she was articulate and showed some intelligence on the issue I would give her a chance but she has shown neither.
 
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Momentum57

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It will be a tough seat for the dems to hold! Voters are fickle and love a good cycle change. The seat will be up for special election in 2 years and up for another election again in 2 years. To find a democrat that can speak to the right leaning upstate region you have to find a blue dog democrat. Someone has teeth not just a celeb with a sense of entitlement. When I saw Kennedy in Syracuse she made several motions and little noises like she was just bored or irritated that people would ask what committee she would go for. The mayor of the Syracuse went to my high school in my little conservative suburb and is not much of a spend and see democrat. I don't believe that he would have gone for someone who has never worked for their political capital.

Prediction she will win the next primary and special election but AG Andrew Cuomo will run and take the seat in a primary upset 4 years from now and go on for the next 3 six year terms.
 

Jacobfox

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Well, if dead family members is any kind of merit, Caroline has got a lot of it. :p


How come senate seats don't have byelections in the US? If a congressman was to pass, would his replacement also be by appointment until the next regularly scheduled election?

As stated below, there isn't really any hard and fast consistent procedure. Russ Feingold is introducing a 28th amendment to the US constitution to require that open senate seats have a runoff a la the House. Not a bad idea, especially considering blago.
 

Aircooled

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Of course not. I mean, she should just shrug it off. Like when America shrugged off the Sept 11th attacks. Oh hang on...

Good point.


Let's ban aircraft! After all it can't be the people that perpetrated the act it must be the inanimate device.
 

Plissken

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People don't fly planes into buildings. Planes fly planes into buildings.
 

Momentum57

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I don't understand why a Democrat can not be pro gun! Recently there was an opinion writer who noted that Gov. Blogovich was better than Gov. Patterson because he did not pick fast or a "true liberal". This is a perversion of ignorant partisan political hatchery. I am a Pro Choice republican note thats republican with a little r and a Conservative with a capital C. People need to read more William F. Buckley on all sides. Also old polish proverb when you have 4 people at the table you get 8 arguments. Start being able to doublethink things people .
 

Plissken

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