Maloney Ramps Up Campaign For Clinton's Senate Seat
After weeks of Caroline Kennedy being presented by most of the media as virtually the only candidate for Senator Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be vacated seat, thus the favorite to be picked by Governor David Paterson, the governor himself made it clear he has no choice in mind and even showed some resentment at and annoyance with stories asserting Kennedy has the job sewed up.
At the same time, after Kennedy appeared to backtrack a bit amid charges she was pushing too hard to be selected, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney received an endorsement for the Clinton seat by a leader of the women's rights movement, based on Maloney's championing that issue during her 10-year congressional career.
Maloney, who is an announced candidate for the post, and who has hired a consultant to help her campaign for it, also spent last weekend touring three major upstate cities where she met with elected officials and community leaders.
Maloney's day-long stops in Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester contrasted with Kennedy's talking only with public officials and spending much less time upstate.
Gloria Steinem, one of the most influential leaders of the women's liberation movement in the 1970s, endorsed Maloney at an event where the Queens/Manhattan lawmaker was honored by a coalition of organizations which actively oppose human trafficking, one of Maloney's signature issues in Congress.
Steinem urged Paterson to select Maloney to replace Clinton and then asked Kennedy to run for Maloney's congressional seat covering Manhattan's Upper East Side and parts of Queens.
Steinem said her suggestion was logical in terms of the two women's records and the need to have both seats represented by women. She described Maloney as "a champion of the issues that are the most important", and added: "I know she has experience doing that."
Paterson, meanwhile, brushed aside an Associated Press report that he was ready to name Kennedy as the new senator. He said he hadn't interviewed her (or any others) yet nor had he set up an appointment with her.
He was quoted in a New York Post story as saying "We've got a new rumor every day— it's unbelievable" and added, "I know one thing—I'm not going to appoint anyone that I haven't interviewed."
The next day, at an open house reception for the public at the Governor's Mansion in Albany, Paterson expressed some annoyance at all the reports that he had already decided to appoint Kennedy. To make that point very clear, he repeated a quote from a famous baseball umpire, "It ain't nothin' till I calls it." And that's how I'm telling you. Pass that along to any of these excited people who think they're going to influence me."
Actually, Paterson had made it very clear earlier that he would not make a selection and announce it until Clinton is approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee after Presidentelect Barack Obama is sworn in as president on January 20. He has several times repeated that statement.
In the meantime, as the press put out a frenzy of stories making it appear that Kennedy's appointment was a done deal has abated slightly, there has been more coverage of other serious candidates contending for the post. These include Maloney, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Congressmember Steve Israel of Long Island and Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi.
Meanwhile, the strongest advocate for Kennedy's being named to the Senate continues to be Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
COURTS: COUNT MORE PADAVAN- GENNARO BALLOTS: The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court has upheld a Queens Supreme Court decision that about 2,000 ballots previously ruled invalid in the race between state Senator Frank Padavan and challenger City Councilmember James Gennaro must now be counted. Under the ruling issued last week, the ballots were sent back to the Board of Elections to be counted. Padavan presently leads in the race by about 580 votes.
MONSERRATE FACES CHALLENGE FOR SEAT: When City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate journeys to Albany this week to start his new job as a state senator, he'll have to fight off a Republican effort to block him from taking the 13th District seat.
The challenge arose after Monserrate got in a scrap with his girlfriend, who later emerged from a hospital with 20 stitches closing a wound on her face. Felony assault charges were brought against the lawmaker. Those charges are the basis of the resolution that will be introduced by Senator Martin Golden, a Brooklyn Republican seeking to block Monserrate's admission to the senate.
Democrats, who sorely need Monserrate's vote in their effort to win majority control, will be urging a vote against Golden's resolution from their senate colleagues. Their argument is that Monserrate's girlfriend has told Queens District Attorney Richard Brown that the cut on her face was an accident, so there's a chance the serious charges against Monserrate will either be dismissed or reduced.
If the three renegade Democrats, two of whom are Hispanics like Monserrate, vote to bring him into the senate, that will be the end of Golden's effort.
But if they decide to vote with the Republicans, perhaps to strengthen their bargaining position in the leadership control battle, then the Queens lawmaker could face a serious problem.
MARSHALL TO DELIVER STATE OF BOROUGH ADDRESS: Borough President Helen Marshall is set to deliver her annual State of the Borough address next Tuesday, January 13 at 10 a.m. in the Colden Auditiorium on the Queens College campus in Flushing.
SPECIAL ELECTIONS FOR 3 COUNCIL SEATS: Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that special elections to fill three City Council vacancies will be held on Tuesday, February 24.
Hiram Monserrate's 21st Council District post in Jackson Heights/Corona, Councilmember Joseph Addabbo's 32nd District seat in Ozone Park/Howard Beach, and Staten Island Councilmember Michael McMahon's 49th Council District seat will become vacant. Monserrate and Addabbo were elected state senators and McMahon was elected to Congress to replace Vito Fossella. All three councilmembers are Democrats. Victors for all three seats in the special elections will serve until December 2009.