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Sources: Congresswoman to replace Clinton in Senate

  • Story Highlights
  • Governor will name U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, sources say
  • David Paterson to announce choice at noon Friday
  • Gillibrand is conservative Democrat who opposed financial industry bailout
  • Appointee will fill out remainder of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's term
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York Gov. David Paterson has chosen Democratic Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to succeed Hillary Clinton as U.S. Senator from New York, multiple Democratic sources told CNN Friday.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo also was mentioned as a possible Senate appointee.

Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand has been picked to succeed Hillary Clinton as U.S. Senator from New York, sources say.

Gillibrand, 42, represents New York's traditionally Republican 20th district.

She is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of congressional Democrats who hold more conservative views than their liberal Democratic counterparts.

She is an outspoken advocate for gun rights, and she supports an extension of the Bush tax cuts. She has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

She also has a 100 percent rating from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Paterson must appoint a replacement for Clinton, who was sworn in as President Obama's secretary of state Wednesday. A special election will be held in 2010 for the remaining two years of Clinton's term. Paterson will formally announce his decision at a noon press conference in Albany, New York.

The final decision was made around 2 a.m. It came down to Gillibrand and Randi Weingarten, the dark horse candidate who is president of the United Federation of Teachers.

Among the considerations Paterson used in selecting Gillibrand were that she is a woman and she is from upstate New York, sources said. Both those factors could help Paterson when he runs for election as governor next year.

A Paterson spokeswoman, Erin Duggan, would not comment on the reports.

"The governor is making his announcement at noon today, and that is the only comment we are making at this time," Duggan said early Friday.

Caroline Kennedy, seen as a favorite to fill the vacant seat, withdrew her name from consideration Wednesday, citing personal reasons.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Steve Israel also have been mentioned as possible appointees. Video Watch who is in contention for the Senate seat »

Gillibrand was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006, unseating Republican John Sweeney. In the 1990s, she worked as a lawyer for the Department of Housing and Urban Development during Cuomo's tenure as housing secretary in the Clinton administration.

She was one of dozens of Democrats who joined House Republicans in voting against the Bush administration's $700 billion bailout of the financial industry in October, arguing the plan lacked proper oversight.

Kennedy, 51, cited personal reasons for her decision not to continue pursuing the Senate seat, but Paterson had no intention of appointing her, a source close to the governor told CNN.

Paterson did not think Kennedy was "ready for prime time," citing her efforts, at times awkward, to try to win the appointment, the source told CNN.

"She clearly has no policy experience and couldn't handle the pressure," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. "Why would he pick her given how badly she handled herself in recent weeks?"

A Kennedy ally, though, denied Kennedy had any indication Paterson was leaning against choosing her to fill out Clinton's term.


Kennedy had been very public in expressing her interest in the seat by meeting with state and community leaders throughout New York.

"The governor considers Caroline a friend and knows she will continue to serve New York well inside or outside of government," a statement from the governor's office read. "We wish her well in all her future endeavors."

All About Caroline KennedyU.S. SenateHillary Clinton

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