Nine months ago, when he was the lieutenant governor, David A. Paterson dreamed that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton would head to the White House and he would be tapped to fill her Senate seat.
Now Mr. Paterson, who became governor in March after Eliot Spitzer resigned, will be the one picking a replacement for Mrs. Clinton, who is said to be poised to become the next secretary of state.
On Friday night, just before delivering a speech to the N.A.A.C.P. in San Francisco, Mr. Paterson told reporters that 10 to 20 people had already contacted him about their interest in taking Mrs. Clinton's place. "I would say it's not a shy and retiring group of people who would like to serve in the Senate," he said, declining to name them. "It's almost distracting me from trying to close the very severe deficit of nearly $15 billion in New York."