Jan 23, 2009 — An aide to Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand has confirmed to North Country Public Radio that she will be the next junior Senator from New York. Gillibrand was offered the post early this morning and will accept at a noon ceremony today in Albany. The New York Times and the Associated Press are both reporting that the Governor's choice was made just after 2 am on Friday. Gillibrand's rise marks the next chapter in a remarkable political journey that began in November 2006 with her upset victory over Rep. John Sweeney. Gillibrand won re-election handily last year, despite stiff opposition from North Country Republican Sandy Treadwell.
Gillibrand outlasted the other likely candidates for the Senate seat, primarily Caroline Kennedy. Kennnedy's campaign imploded following a series of missteps and confused statements about her reasons for wanting the job. She formally withdrew from the process this week.
Gillibrand is a moderate who opposes same-sex marriage and gun control. Long Island Democrat, Carolyn McCarthy, says she'll challenge Gillibrand in the primary next year. Gillibrand will be officially named today at noon at an event in Albany. She will likely face stiff opposition in a special election in 2010 and again in 2012. Possible Republican opponents include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Governor George Pataki. But Gillibrand has proved herself to be a ferocious campaigner and fundraiser.
Governor Paterson's pick sets off a round of political musical chairs across the North Country. State Senator Betty Little, a Republican, is expected to make a bid for Gillibrand's seat. Should she win, that would trigger another contest for her state Senate seat. Other likely candidates for Gillibrand's seat include Sandy Treadwell, from Essex County, who ran in 2008.
Martha Foley and Brian Mann sort through fact from fiction.