Is Kennedy’s political legacy affecting her chance of replacing Clinton?

By Kate Horvath

 

Attention has been focused on Caroline Kennedy since word of her replacing Hillary Clinton in the Senate has spread. According to various sources, New York Gov. David Paterson and Caroline Kennedy have spoken about the possibility.

 

Associated Press story quoted Robert F. Kennedy Jr., her cousin, saying that she is taking this idea into strong consideration.

Clinton’s seat is the same chamber in which Kennedy’s late father, former President John F. Kennedy served, and also the same seat her uncle, Robert Kennedy held. The notion of Kennedy being appointed by Patterson to replace Clinton in the Senate is drawing massive amounts of attention because of her political legacy.

Offices of both Gov. David A. Paterson and Massacusetts Democrat Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, were questioned after news surfaced. Both offices denied a New York Times report on Tuesday that said Mr. Kennedy had urged the governor on behalf of his niece to be selected to fill the seat.

In an interview, Gov. Patterson said that he has not spoken to Sen. Kennedy in years, and that no phone calls have been exchanged since his niece has started considering this role in the Senate.

“We just haven’t talked at all,” he said. “He hasn’t sent any message to me from anyone. And no one has even called me and said they’ve spoken to him.”

Despite reports from The Times that Mr. Kennedy has been contacting the governer and Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, he denies these accusations.

Anthony Coley, Mr. Kennedy’s spokesman, issued a statement informing people that Kennedy has not made any efforts to work his niece into the possibly open seat.

“Senator Kennedy has not contacted anyone in New York regarding the possibility of Caroline Kennedy serving in the Senate,” Coley said Tuesday morning.

Even though Kennedy is easily the most famous candidate for Clinton’s Senate seat, others are vying her spot as well. A number of House members are in the running, including Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Kirsten Gillibrand, Steve Israel, Brian Higgins, Nydia Velazquez and Jerrold Nadler. Paterson could also choose New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown or Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.

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