POLITICS
01/01/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Clinton's Senate Seat: Who Will Replace Her?

***Update 12/2, 12:10 AM***

The New York Times reports today that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called the governor to take his name out of the running for Clinton's senate seat.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer and son of the onetime senator from New York, said this morning that he had telephoned Gov. David A. Paterson and explained that he was not interested being appointed to the United States Senate.

Former President Bill Clinton has also said that he hasno interest in replacing Hillary in the U.S. Senate. His spokesman told CNN that any speculation that he would be interested is "completely false."

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Now that Hillary Clinton has officially been chosen as President-elect Barack Obama's Secretary of State, the battle for her Senate seat can begin in earnest. However, Ben Smith reports that Clinton isn't vacating the post just yet:

"Senator Clinton intends to remain in office through confirmation," emails spokesman Philippe Reines.

UPDATE: Says New York Governor David Paterson in a statement: "In order to appoint the best possible candidate to replace Senator Clinton, I am consulting with a wide variety of individuals from all across New York State. I expect to announce Senator Clinton's replacement when the position becomes officially vacant."

Meanwhile, one of the top contenders has withdrawn herself from consideration.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Westchester) -- considered to be a frontrunner to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate -- is withdrawing herself from consideration, her spokesman tells Politico.

The 11-term congresswoman, who stepped aside to allow Clinton to run in 2000, thinks she can "be more effective" in the House where she chairs the homeland subcommittee on the appropriations.

Several possible Lowey competitors told Politico they would have stepped aside if Lowey had pushed for the job. But in recent days, she had begun telling colleagues she had no interest in relinquishing her role as a "cardinal" -- one of the House's top appropriators.