Kirsten Gillibrand, a 42 year old Congresswoman from upstate New York, has been tapped by Governor David Paterson to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gillibrand represents New York's 20th District and had just begun her second term.
The pick is surprising on two counts. First, Paterson's choice of a person who received the NRA's endorsement has already enraged Representative Carolyn McCarthy who has pledged to challenge Gillibrand in the 2010 Democratic primary if she was indeed the choice. Second, what happened to Andrew Cuomo, the popular New York Attorney General and son of the beloved former governor? And of course, all this follows an ugly back-and-forth in media reports of Caroline Kennedy's withdrawal from consideration of the seat.
Regardless, Gillibrand seems like a compelling choice and story--she is only the 6th woman in Congressional history to have a baby while serving and currently is married with two small boys ages 5 and 6 months. A perceived centrist on many issues, Gillbrand appears positioned well to retain the seat in 2010 given that she is reportedly an effective fundraiser and aggressive candidate.