Paterson Taps Rep To Fill Clintons Seat

01.23.09 | FL News Team

New York has a new junior U.S. senator, and it isn't a Cuomo or a Kennedy. New York Governor David Paterson has chosen Representative Kirsten Gillibrand to take the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Gillibrand's conservative views and upstate district will likely give Paterson himself a broader base to run from in 2010. But the choice came under immediate fire from more liberal, downstate Democrats, particularly for Gillibrand's opposition to gun control laws that has won her an endorsement by the National Rifle Association.

The 42-year-old Gillibrand will replace Hillary Clinton, who was sworn in Wednesday as Secretary of State. Gillibrand must run to keep her seat in 2010, when Governor Paterson will share the ticket with her in his own bid for re-election.

The Democratic Gillibrand recently won her second Congressional term representing a heavily Republican district centered in Hudson, New York, just outside Albany. She first ran for public office in 2006 by knocking off Republican incumbent John Sweeney in the race for Congress.  Gillibrand easily won re-election to Congress this past November.

Other candidates who had been considered by Paterson included Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Congressman Steve Israel of Long Island, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and Caroline Kennedy.