Cuomo Favored to Take Hillary Clinton's Senate Seat

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New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is emerging as the leading contender to take over the Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, who is poised to head the State Department after Barack Obama takes offices as President.

Blogs and polls are showing a preference for Cuomo. In a new Marist poll, 43 percent of New York voters said they would like to see Cuomo replace Clinton, 1 percentage point more than those who said they were not sure about their preference.

A Washington DC blog,, predicts Cuomo will get the nod.

"And while nothing is official, or close to it, on who will be Clinton's interim replacement, it is all but certain that New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will be the temporary replacement for the junior senator's seat from New York (with the possibility of future full-time employment)," the blog read.

Cuomo, son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has strong ties to the Clintons. He was secretary of housing and urban development for four years under President Bill Clinton before being elected the state attorney general in 2006.

Cuomo also has ties to another legendary Democratic family: the Kennedy clan. Cuomo was married to Marry Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, for 13 years until their divorce in 2003. They have three children.

"He knows Washington, he would come in with some real clout and be an aggressive legislator," Dan Gerstein, a New York-based political analyst told

Clinton's role in the Obama administration still isn't official, though sources have said she is expected to be announced as his secretary of state nominee after Thanksgiving. She then would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

Democratic Gov. David Paterson would get to appoint Clinton's replacement upon her resignation, and her replacement would face a special election in two years. But Paterson, who replaced disgraced Eliot Spitzer as governor earlier this year, and has stated his intention to run for election in 2010, must consider the political consequences of his choice.

"My heart goes out to David Paterson," Gerstein said, noting that New York's first black and first legally blind governor suffered through the sex scandal of Spitzer only to encounter a $1.2 billion budget shortfall after the meltdown on Wall Street.

"He's sadly become the grand champion of the no-win situation. No matter who he picks, he will alienate a lot of different communities," he said, explaining that New York is dominated by identity politics.

"I tend to think Paterson is going to fall into this trap of picking someone who's politically helpful to him, rather than who could do the most good for New York state," Gerstein added.

Gerstein, a former spokesman for Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, said his top pick to replace Clinton would be former Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons.

"He has instant credibility, instant gravitas when it comes to business issues, and dealing with the economic crisis," he said. Gerstein also said Parsons' race -- he is black -- makes him an ideal choice because the Senate lost its only black member when Obama resigned this month.

Other names that have been mentioned as possible contenders are Caroline Kennedy and her cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert Kennedy Jr. supported Clinton in the primaries, going against Caroline and his uncle, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, who both supported Obama. Robert Kennedy reportedly said in January 2007 that he would consider running for Clinton's Senate seat if she were to win the presidency.

Caroline Kennedy has no formal political experience, but after co-chairing Obama's vice presidential search committee, some believe she might be ready to step into the political ring.