News/Campaigns/Congressional Campaigns

News/Campaigns/Congressional Campaigns

Gillibrand Seen As A Favorite for Clinton's Seat

Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is the favorite to be appointed to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's old Senate seat, according to an upstate New York paper.

A "Washington source with close ties to Albany" told the Watertown Daily Times that Gillibrand appears to be the favorite to be selected by Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.).

Gillibrand, 42, is a centrist, two-term House member who represents a purple district just outside Albany.

Other possible choices for Paterson include Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Steve Israel and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. All are Democrats.

Caroline Kennedy, who was seen as a frontrunner, withdrew her name from consideration early Thursday, citing personal reasons

A Third Explanation For Kennedy Withdrawal

Since Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration for Senate early Thursday, three different New York newspapers have offered three different explanations for her decision.

The New York Daily News said that Kennedy pulled her bid because of a personal reasons unrelated to the health of her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who is fighting brain cancer. The Daily News report relied on an unnamed aide to Caroline Kennedy.

The New York Times had reported that she was withdrawing because of Sen. Kennedy's health, while the New York Post suggested that she left the race because Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.) wasn't going to appoint her to the vacant Senate seat.

Kennedy herself has done little to clarify why she left the race aside. After conflicting reports over whether she was withdrawing, she released a one-sentence statement announcing her decision early Thursday.

"I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate," she said.

Rep. Crowley Dances to Wyclef

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) showed off his surprisingly good dance moves during Tuesday's Mid-Atlantic Ball.

The New York Daily News's Elizabeth Benjamin filmed the New York City congressman getting down to Wyclef Jean. When Benjamin told Crowley she was impressed with his rhythm, he said that he plays in a band.

Crowley also weighed in on New York's Senate seat, saying that Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.) is "coming to a decision." He said, however, that he thinks upstate New York needs better representation during the 2010 state-wide elections.

"Whether that has to be fulfilled with the Senate seat, I don't know," Crowley said. "The lieutenant governor is also a possibility."

See video of Crowley dancing below.

Rep. Joe Crowley Gets Down from Elizabeth Benjamin on Vimeo.

Paterson Notes Women, Hispanics Lack Representation

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) has dropped few clues on who he plans to select as U.S. senator, but he is noting that some groups lack representation in the upper chamber.

Paterson, on CNN Monday, said that though he doesn't feel pressure to pick a woman to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), he does consider the relatively low number of female senators to be a valid point.

"I don't consider it pressure, but there were 17 women in the United States Senate, when the woman population is nearly 52 percent," he said. "And without Hillary, there would be 16. So I think it's a valid point. I wouldn't say it's pressure; I wouldn't say it's a factor, but it is a point that people have raised."

Paterson noted other groups that aren't well-represented.

"Also, upstate New York doesn't have an elected official in the state government," he said. "And the entire Hispanic community, which is 17 percent of New York's population, has never, in its history, had a statewide or even New York City-wide elected official."

Paterson, who is in Washington, D.C. for the inaugural festivities, said he hopes to make the Senate appointment by the weekend. He said he could have made his decision if it weren't for President-elect Obama's inauguration.

RedState Slams Hatch for Backing Obama Appointees

RedState, one of the leading conservative blogs, is asking its readers to give Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) an earful for backing two of President-elect Obama's Cabinet appointments.

In an e-mail sent Thursday to his readers, RedState editor Erick Erickson wrote that Hatch had said before the 2008 election he was unwilling to give Democrats a free pass. "Since then, Senator Hatch has expressed his love of Barack Obama and announced he would vote both for Eric Holder as Attorney General and Tim Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury," Erickson wrote.

The blogger then lists the phone number for Hatch's Senate office and asks readers to tell Hatch to oppose the two nominations.

RedState and other conservatives have highlighted Geithner's failure to pay income taxes for several years and his employment of a housekeeper who lacked proper immigration papers. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has noted that Holder recommended the controversial pardon given by President Clinton to Marc Rich. Holder's critics have questioned his ability to remain independent from the president.

Erickson mentioned that Hatch is up for reelection in 2010 and he warned the six-term senator that he shouldn't be cooperating too much with Obama.

"It's one thing to like Barack Obama," Erickson wrote. "It's another thing to roll over and be a useful idiot to the Obama agenda."

Burris Will Be Sworn In As Senator on Thursday

Roland Burris will be sworn in as a United States senator on Thursday.

At 2 p.m., Burris, the appointee of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) to fill President-elect Obama's former seat, will take an oath to become a senator, Burris's office said Tuesday. Vice President Dick Cheney will administer it on the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who joined Democrats in opposing the appointment of Burris or any anyone else by Blagojevich, will host a private reception for his colleague-to-be after the swearing-in ceremony, Burris's office said.

Reid Calls on 'Former Sen. Coleman' to Concede

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pointedly called Republican Norm Coleman a "former senator" and said he should concede his re-election race in Minnesota to Democrat Al Franken.

In remarks Tuesday for the opening of the 111th Congress, Reid said that all the votes have been fairly counted and that Franken is "the certified winner by the State Canvassing Board and he is the senator-elect from Minnesota."

"I hope that former Sen. Coleman and all of our Republican colleagues will choose to respect the will of the people of Minnesota," Reid added. "They have chosen a new senator, Al Franken, and his term must and will begin soon."

Reid also said he understood it was "a difficult time for former Senator Coleman and his family, and he is entitled to the opportunity to concede this election graciously.""But we cannot let this drag on forever," Reid said.

Coleman's Senate term officially ended last Saturday. The Minnesota canvassing board certified Franken as the winner by 225 votes on Monday. Coleman's team, however, is preparing a lawsuit protesting the result.

Reid also addressed the open Senate seat in Illinois during his opening remarks. Reid said that Roland Burris, the appointee of embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.), lacked the necessary credentials to assume the Senate seat. Reid, however, didn't commit to seating or blocking Burris if he was able to obtain them.

"If Mr. Burris takes possession of valid credentials, the United States Senate will proceed in a manner that is respectful to Mr. Burris while ensuring that there is no cloud of doubt over the appointment to fill this seat," Reid said. "I also understand that Mr. Burris may give testimony to Illinois State Assembly impeachment proceedings against Gov. Blagojevich, and we await that proceeding as well."

WH on Burris: Not Touching That With 10-Foot Pole

When asked about the Bush administration's position on Illinois Senate appointee Roland Burris, press secretary Dana Perino made clear that it's not going to get involved.

"I'm going to not touch that with a 10-foot pole," she said during a Tuesday briefing.

Burris, the appointee of embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), was turned away from the Senate's swearing-in ceremony Tuesday.

Perino had a bit more to say about Minnesota's Senate race, in which state officials have declared Democrat Al Franken the winner despite a pending lawsuit from incumbent Norm Coleman (R).

"Well, there's still a legal challenge that the Coleman campaign is going to mount," she said. "And so I think that, while that's still ongoing, we'll decline to comment."

Obama: No Time to Lurch to the Left

Democrats will not have time to even accomplish many of the more outlandish things John McCain says will happen as a result of single-party control of Congress and the White House, Barack Obama said in an interview.

"There are a lot of Democrats who may be elected who may have made a commitment to their constitutents to be centrist," Obama said. "I don't think they're going to want to have big, sudden lurches to the left."

Obama named the economy and taxes, health care, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as his top priorities, and indicated he expected them to be time-consuming during a potential new administration.

"Those things are going to take up a huge amount of time when we're also trying to stabilize the financial markets," the Illinois Democrat said during the interview with a Colorado TV affiliate. "I don't think we're going to have time to engage in a bunch of crazy things that the McCain campaign specifically has suggested we might."

Watch the video of the interview here:

-Michael O'Brien

Bush to Raise Money for Hopeful LaHood Successor Today

President Bush will be in Peoria, Ill. today, using his presidential star power to raise money for congressional candidate Aaron Schock (R), who hopes to succeed retiring Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), at a $500-per-ticket luncheon.

As of last week, Schock's campaign had sold 500 tickets for a haul of $250,000. Schock raised $407,000 in April, May, and June and has $299,000 cash on hand.

Today's luncheon could widen Schock's already significant cash lead over Democratic opponent Colleen Callahan. Callahan raised about $139,000 during that same period and has $155,000 cash on hand.