With Hillary Clinton headed to Foggy Bottom in January, speculation about her successor is heating up:
The task of choosing a successor falls to David Paterson, New York’s Democratic governor. Whomever he picks would serve for two years, before a special election in November 2010 to decide who fills the last two years of Clinton’s term.
Paterson has a strong bench to choose from. There are a number of contenders, including at least eight members of New York’s delegation in the House of Representatives, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, Caroline Kennedy, and her cousin, Robert Kennedy Jr.
“This is not an election. This is not a campaign. It’s a constituency of one. David Paterson. It’s all about what the governor wants to do,” said political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report.
“Paterson has said he would prefer someone from upstate New York, or a woman or an Hispanic candidate,” Rothenberg said.
As for some of the more unconventional picks, Rothenberg said Paterson could “try to make a splash with a big name like Robert Kennedy Jr.” or a “quirky interesting pick” of someone like Caroline Kennedy, who is not a politician.
But some are suggesting the former president should take his wife’s seat.
In an op-ed column last week in The Washington Post, journalists Karl Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac urged Paterson to “send Bill Clinton to the Senate.”
Personally, I can’t see it.
Even with the fact that his international activities are likely to be restricted once his wife takes office, it’s hard to see Bill Clinton becoming one man in a group of 100, and a junior member at that. Such a move has only happened twice before in American history; John Quincy Adams was elected to Congress from Massachusetts two years after losing a re-election bid to Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson became a Senator seven years after leaving office in disgrace.
It’s hard to see Bill Clinton joining that club.