BREAKING: Caroline Withdraws From NY Senate Race

Caroline Kennedy withdraws U.S. Senate bid

HUH?

Late tonight, Caroline Kennedy confirmed that she was withdrawing from consideration for the vacant U.S. Senate seat in New York, startling the New York political world after weeks in which she was considered a top contender for the post.

Earlier today Kennedy called Gov. David Paterson, who will choose a successor to former Sen. Hillary Clinton, to inform him that she was no longer interested in the post.

Late tonight she issued this simple-but-puzzling one-sentence statement:

“I informed Gov. Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate.”

And that was that!

A person told of her decision said that Kennedy’s concerns about the health of her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, who suffers from brain cancer and was hospitalized after suffering a seizure Tuesday, prompted her to withdraw.

Others close to Kennedy felt that Sen. Kennedy’s deteriorating health, evidenced by his collapse yesterday, would all but force Gov. Paterson’s hand in appointing Caroline Kennedy to Hillary Clinton’s now-vacant senate seat.

Kennedy believed that the job was hers if she would accept it, the person said, but aides to Paterson would not comment on whether that was true.

Kennedy’s sudden withdrawl shocked the media pundits, who have been predicting her as a shoo-in for the seat. Apparently, they’re not the only ones who are stunned.

The news appeared to catch the governor off guard, throwing the Paterson administration into confusion and setting off conflicting news media reports. After frantic talks between the governor’s operation and Kennedy’s camp this evening, Kennedy appeared to waver on whether to withdraw, and was preparing a statement reasserting her interest in the job. But at about midnight, she decided to make clear she was taking her name out of consideration and released the statement saying so.

The timing is certainly curious, coming on the same day of Hillary Clinton’s confirmation as secretary of state. 

No further clarification was given as to the nature of Kennedy’s “personal reasons” for withdrawl, and she declined to be interviewed.

Kennedy’s surprise move comes nearly two months after she, along with several members of Congress and leading political officials, began lobbying the governor for the coveted Senate seat. She attracted relentless attention and was viewed by many as the most likely choice for Paterson, given her national stature and ties to the incoming Obama administration.

“I’m surprised, I’m very surprised,” said Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, a friend of the governor’s who met with Kennedy in his Harlem office. He added: “I had just met with her last week and she told me she was in and ready, willing and able.”

Kennedy had gained the support of some powerful backers in the state, including several labor officials and a top aide to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kevin Sheekey.

But her pursuit of the seat also set off resistance, with some local Democratic officials suggesting it smacked of entitlement, and polls showing voters preferring Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for the position.

Kennedy, 51, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, has never served in public office.

In early December, her cousin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., also withdrew his name for consideration. Many in New York political circles considered him the first (and perhaps most obvious) choice to fill the senate seat once held by his father. (Robert F. Kennedy was the junior senator from 1964 until his assassination in 1968.)

After so much heavy campaigning on Caroline’s part, tonight’s news is both shocking and disappointing to longtime Kennedy supporters. With Ted Kennedy’s terminal illness as a factor, it is apparent that he most likely will be unable to serve out the remainder of his term. Many of us desperately hoped to see another Kennedy in the United States Senate, be it RFK Jr. or Caroline, working for the people of New York state. Sadly, that’s not gonna happen.

Perhaps there is still hope, depending on who is chosen to fill Teddy’s seat in Massachusetts when that unfortunate time comes.

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8 Comments

Filed under barack obama, caroline kennedy, election 2008, hillary clinton, jackie kennedy, JFK, JFK Jr., John F. Kennedy, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

8 responses to “BREAKING: Caroline Withdraws From NY Senate Race

  1. My head is spinning…

    Speechless.

  2. STOP THE PRESSES!

    Stop the World, I Wanna Get Off (or a the late NY Sen. Robert Kennedy once said, “off the planet.”)

    Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing!!!!!

    Holy Deusies, Batman!

    This news just throws me for a loop. I knew *something* was afoot when my cell phone started blowing up after midnight, waking me from my peaceful slumber…when I rubbed my eyes to focus on the text messages filing in, I thought surely I must be dreaming all this. Can’t. Be. True.

    Well, it just goes to show `ya, even an old political newshound can still be surprised.

    Really didn’t see this one coming.

    And all I can say is:

    Damn.

  3. Jim

    Now we know the REAL reason Ted Kennedy collapsed at the Senate luncheon Tuesday.

    Someone in the know whispered to him: “psst! It’s not Caroline.”

  4. chrisy58

    Like most people I was surprised, but I look at it from the point of view that everything happens for a reason. She has her reasons and for her this is the best decision. We don’t know the reasons and it doesn’t really matter, because she knows them.

    I see people making assumptions about the reasons why. Years ago Joe told me to never make assumptions because you are usually wrong. Yet, most of us are guilty of that at one time in our lives and I would say the majority of the time we end up being wrong about the assumptions we make about people. Then we have to have the courage to say I was wrong.

    No matter what the future brings I wish Caroline the best. I had been praying for her, and this is the result, so it tells me that this is not the right timing or maybe God has a better path that He wants her to walk down. Either way, I know she is going to make a difference for good in the world.

    Jim do you really know that is the REAL reason Senator Kennedy collapsed or is it just an assumption?

    Anyway, I will continue to keep her in my prayers for the next couple of days as she will have to live with people making assumptions about her reasons that may not have anything to do with the reality.

    Have a great day my friends,
    Chrisy

  5. The New York Times is now reporting there may be some “other” reasons for Caroline’s sudden withdrawl from the race…involving taxes and a housekeeper?

    Go figure…but here’s the link to the story, just posted a few minutes ago:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/nyregion/23caroline.html?hp

  6. Cecil Jones

    Only God know how long Sen. Kennedy will remain in the Senate and on this Earth. I can’t figure out to save my life why it’s wrong to show some compassion for him after a seizure reminding us the man has brain cancer? Politically, this answer could have saved Caroline’s chances for a run in the future. Fighting against this spin is a sign of a political neophyte. It’s like Hillary refusing the Senate Seat because Bill cheated. It’s like saying, “I’m not worthy because Bill made me a victim.” It’s never wrong to show compassion or to accept it gracefully. Now Caroline will make political payback look like a beaaaach.

  7. Pingback: Opinion: Did Caroline Kennedy Get Kneecapped? « Ask Not: The Kennedy Legacy

  8. Pingback: RFK Jr. vs. Environmentalists on NY Bottled Water Bill « RFK Jr. News

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