Paterson's Dark-Horse Pick

With the news that Caroline Kennedy had removed herself (or been removed) from contention to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was considered by many to be a dark-horse pick.

She should not have been.

As noted this morning by The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, Gillibrand's "profile as an Upstate candidate with the ferocious fundraising ability ($4.7 million raised in the 2008 election cycle) of a New York City politician may have helped her secure the appointment."

Politically, this may have been a savvy move by Gov. David Paterson. Gillibrand is young, attractive and, as demonstrated in her successful campaign against former Rep. John Sweeney, aggressive. That he also selected a woman for Clinton's seat/in Kennedy's place goes without saying.

Predictably, those who weren't picked for the slot are angry. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) is already criticizing her House colleague, calling her unacceptable because of gun control and threatening to primary her. Others are reportedly criticizing Gillibrand as a self-promoter and saying she, as a two-term member of Congress, does not have the experience necessary to become senator. (Now Democrats think experience is important???)

No doubt Gillibrand will be a tough campaigner, but she will have to run in both 2010 and 2012, which requires a fervent tenacity and a Schumer-like ability to raise money. Also, as a senator representing all of New York, Gillibrand is likely to fall in line with the Democratic leadership; i.e., Sen. Gillibrand's voting record may differ from that of a Rep. Gillibrand. That may help her in a potential primary election, but hurt her in a general.

Also, a silver cloud for Republicans — Gillibrand likely could have held onto the congressional seat for as long as she liked. Now Republicans have an opportunity to win back a much-needed congressional seat in the Northeast.