- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2009

NEW YORK

Assembly speaker would back Kennedy

Despite early reservations, New York state’s most powerful legislative leader now says he’ll support Caroline Kennedy for the U.S. Senate if the governor names her to the seat expected to be vacated by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the New York Post he’s rethinking his views on Ms. Kennedy because he feels Gov. David A. Paterson will soon pick her to succeed Mrs. Clinton, President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as secretary of state.

If she is Mr. Paterson’s choice, the Democratic lawmaker said he will “work strenuously for her election,” the Post reported Thursday.

Two people close to Mr. Paterson told the Associated Press they believe the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy will be Mr. Paterson’s choice. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter.

PRESIDENT-ELECT

Obama returns after Hawaii rest

President-elect Barack Obama bid his native Hawaii “aloha” after a 12-day vacation.

Mr. Obama, wife Michelle and his two young daughters flew back to Chicago on Thursday.

The Obamas have kept a low profile while vacationing on the island of Oahu. Aside from Mr. Obama’s daily trips to the gym and golf courses, the future first family has stayed out of the public eye.

Mr. Obama had no public events while staying at his rented $9 million home near Honolulu. He joked to onlookers Thursday morning at the gym that he wished he could stay, but had to get back to the mainland.

Mr. Obama flies to Washington on Sunday. His daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, are expected to start school Monday at Washington’s private Sidwell Friends School.

TEXAS

Ex-comptroller to run for Senate

Former state Comptroller John Sharp, a Democrat, filed the formal paperwork Thursday to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

In a news release, Mr. Sharp announced that he had filed his campaign papers with the Federal Elections Commission. He also said he would work to halt Wall Street bailouts and focus instead on using emergency funds to give homeowners mortgage relief.

“The challenges we face at home and abroad demand innovative solutions, not politics as usual,” Mr. Sharp said. “Texans are looking for that kind of leadership.”

Mrs. Hutchison, whose Senate term expires in 2012, has said she may leave the Senate as early as next year to campaign for governor. She has formed an exploratory committee to run for that post in 2010. If she leaves her Senate seat before her term ends in 2012, the governor would appoint a replacement until a special election is held.

Another Democrat, Houston Mayor Bill White, has also announced plans to run for the seat.

Republicans who have announced plans to get in the Senate race at some point include state Sen. Florence Shapiro, Railroad Commissioners Michael Williams and Elizabeth Ames Jones and former Secretary of State Roger Williams.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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