At a press conference at noon today, Governor Paterson will announce that he’s chosen Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Senate. Gillibrand is a 42-year-old U.S. Representative from upstate who is a centrist backed by the National Rifle Association. The choice has already angered some more liberal members of the state party, and at least one fellow Democrat has vowed to run against her in 2010. But Paterson’s decision — finally made, according to the Times, at 2 a.m. this morning — was calculated to actually win himself support, from upstate voters and women, who he’ll need in order to be reelected in 2010.
Gillibrand is a tough, but largely untested, politician. Before her election to Congress two years ago in a hotly contested race against a Republican incumbent, she had never held public office. We don’t have any reason to believe Gillibrand will be anything but a successful senator, but we have to say, this last-minute decision has a familiar feel to it: A sense that Paterson, in a panic, put all of the candidates’ pictures on a wall and started frantically throwing darts. You know, the way it felt after John McCain picked Sarah Palin.