David Paterson said this morning that Mayor Michael Bloomberg told him that he should appoint himself to the U.S. Senate back when the governor spent a number of weeks casting about for a sucessor to Senator Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t think that was just a private conversation. He was pretty open about that,” Paterson told John Gambling. “But here is what I told the mayor: Of the last ten governors who appointed themselves to the Senate, all of them lost the next time there was an election except one.”
That one, Paterson said, was Happy Chandler, former governor and senator from Kentucky.
The mayor, you will recall, was thought to be operating behind the scenes to get Caroline Kennedy appointed to the U.S. Senate. Paterson said that the other reason he did not appoint himself was because there was no lieutenant governor–since the seat was vacated when Paterson took over for Eliot Spitzer. Had he appointed himself, the Senate President, Malcolm Smith, would have been governor, and the state Senate, then with a 32-30 Democratic majority, would have become dysfunctional.
“The other problem was, if you remember at that time if I had appointed myself to the Senate, there was no lieutenant governor and there was already a fight as to who was going to control the Senate, so I think if I had appointed myself to the Senate it would have touched off a major power crisis in the state, which I think rightly would have been blamed on me.”
Ultimately of course, Paterson appointed Kirsten Gillibrand to the seat.