"The problems of upstate are critical to our whole state," he said. "Having someone who is actually from upstate is a huge plus."
"She has a reputation as a go-to person," he continued. "If you have an issue in her district, go to Kirsten Gillibrand and she'll get things done."
Many speculated that Caroline Kennedy would be sent to the Senate in the one-vote election. Though early polls showed that New Yorkers favored her, several unflattering interviews and an otherwise botched campaign rollout soured the public on her. She withdrew from consideration early on Thursday, citing an unnamed "personal reason."
Partly due to the magnitude of media coverage surrounding Kennedy's bid, Gillibrand's name was rarely uttered in talk of who would replace Clinton, who was sworn in as Secretary of State on Wednesday. Paterson made a policy of rebuffing any talk of the choice, often admonishing those who engaged in speculation.
Gillibrand could help Paterson in many ways, though. Now having both inherited their offices, they will be facing reelection in 2010. Though a young up-and-comer, Gillibrand has already won favor with many in upstate New York and is a woman, perhaps contributing to key demographics for Paterson.
Paterson dismissed such speculation.
"This decision was not based on gender, geographical orientation, race, religion or sexual orientation. This decision was based was based on who was best for the job," he said at Friday's ceremony.
A special election will be held in the 20th to select Gillibrand's replacement. Many have said that Republicans will have a likely chance of recapturing the seat, given a lack of Democratic candidates who could capture Republican votes as easily as Gillibrand did. Democrats have a healthy lead on Republicans in the House, though.
Check back to spotlightnews.com for updates as they develop.