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The Perpetual Campaign

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Thanks to a quirk in New York’s election laws, whoever gets appointed to Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat will have to spend their first three years in office campaigning:

Paterson will appoint a Senator in January of 2009 who will hold that position until Jan. 3 of 2011. At that point, the winner of a special election in the fall of 2010 will take the seat. But that person will only be elected to fill out the unexpired term of Senator Clinton. Having last been elected in 2006, Hillary would have been up for reelection in 2012. This means that in order to win a full term, the Governor’s appointee will need to stand for election in both 2010 and 2012.

Given how much time and money are taken up by a Senate campaign, Hillary’s successor will have, at most, 10 months or so to find where the rest rooms are on the Hill before they begin running for the 2010 race. Assuming they win that one, they have at best another year before doing it all over again. This will be expensive and time consuming. There are also questions as to how they will fare in such contests.

Which means that the seat would be best suited for someone with a lot of name recognition and the ability to raise a ton of money, which is why my money is on either Andrew Cuomo or, unfortunately, Caroline Kennedy.