Report: RFK Jr. Uninterested in New York Vacancy

Posted December 2, 2008 at 12:06pm

Two down — an infinite number to go.

Environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Tuesday joined Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) on the sidelines in the sweepstakes to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

According to a New York Times blog, Kennedy telephoned New York Gov. David Paterson (D) on Tuesday to tell him that he was not interested in the Senate appointment, assuming Clinton is confirmed as secretary of State.

Kennedy, whose father held Clinton’s Senate seat from 1965 until he was assassinated in 1968 while running for president, told the Times that he came to his decision after consulting with several members of his famous family, including his uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

“I think I’m in a good position now doing what I’m doing,” he said.

Kennedy’s decision comes a day after aides to Lowey told the Associated Press that the 10-term Congresswoman was not interested in giving up her position as an Appropriations cardinal.

While more than a dozen people are mentioned as possible candidates for the Senate vacancy, Paterson said Monday that he is disinclined to name a replacement for Clinton until she is confirmed for the Foggy Bottom post. But he tantalized political insiders by teasing one of the likely contenders, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (D), during a joint news conference the two held in Albany Monday.

Asked by a reporter if Suozzi would make a good Senator, Paterson asked Suozzi for his opinion. According to news accounts, Suozzi — whose father and the governor’s father are law partners — blushed.

On a radio talk show Tuesday, Suozzi, somewhat awkwardly, did not deny that he would be interested in the appointment.

“I’m just going to watch the governor’s lead, and follow his lead, which is he’s just not going to comment on the thing until a lot later date,” he said.

Other top contenders for the Senate appointment appear to be state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D), Reps. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), Steve Israel (D), Gregory Meeks (D) and Nydia Velázquez (D), Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D), and former Clinton Senate counsel Leecia Eve.