The Long Island Congressman, who sits on the Homeland Security Committee, told me, "Until the Governor provides a detailed summary of what went into his decision, there will be a cloud of uncertainty over the appointment."
King says he is echoing the sentiments of other Republican leaders with whom he has spoken in the state. Many state Democrats are howling mad over the appointment. It's Gillibrand's conservative views that have enabled her to win two elections in a predominantly Republican district. Her pro-gun stance and support of the NRA, as well as her position on immigration, have angered her Democratic colleagues in Congress. Add to that the fact that she was one of very few Democrats who voted against the bailout rescue plan for the ailing financial industry.
As PIX News first reported, Governor Paterson's final decision came late in the night Thursday after intense lobbying efforts against Gillibrand's selection. Sources tell me he was working the phones up until midnight. One media report suggests he called the 42-year-old mother of two about his choice at 2 a.m.
Congressman King claims the Governor had intimated that his decision to select her was made before last week's Inauguration and was reinforced by him Tuesday night. "If that is the case," King queries, "On Wednesday why did he ask Caroline Kennedy to take another 24 hours to reconsider her decision to withdraw her name?"
Fueling speculation that Gillibrand had advance knowledge that she was the one is the fact that she was so well prepared at the announcement news conference on Friday. She came armed with a lengthy speech that included a recitation of her robust agenda.
Another telltale sign that Paterson was going to name the upstate Congresswoman came when he scheduled the Friday news conference in Albany. While Kennedy was still in contention for the post, he had planned a conference in the city for Saturday.
Political sources insist Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has had close ties to Gillibrand, let it be known that she strongly favored her for the seat. Some analysts feel it was political retribution, particularly during the period Caroline Kennedy appeared to be the frontrunner. Clinton's Presidential aspirations took a shot when Kennedy and her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, surprisingly endorsed Barack Obama.
Congressman King told me he plans to send Governor Paterson a letter on Monday asking him to "come clean and disclose everything that went into this." King doesn't believe the Governor did anything illegal, but is of the opinion that Paterson was attracted to Gillibrand's political assets: her support among an important upstate Republican constituency, and her prowess as a highly successful fundraiser, assets that could serve him well in a bid for election next year.