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What happens to Clinton's Senate seat if she accepts Secretary of State position?

By By DAVID DELLECESE

(WKTV) - President-elect Barack Obama is set to announce key cabinet secretaries very soon - and among them, one very familiar face to New Yorkers.

The New York Times is reporting that Senator Hillary Clinton is set to accept the position of Secretary of State, although Clinton's office itself says the discussions are still underway and that anything beyond that is "premature."

But if Clinton accepts, that means she will have to resign from her position as a United States Senator for New York State.

And what happens to that seat from there?

If Senator Clinton accepts this position, she still has to be confirmed by the Senate. It is most likely that Clinton would officially resign from her Senate seat after a confirmation from the Senate would be reached.

According to New York rules, if Hillary leaves in an even-numbered year - which in this case could be 2008 - Governor David Paterson appoints a replacement who would serve until January 3, 2010.

In that case, there would be a special election in November 2009 to fill the remainder of Clinton's term, which would run through 2012.

But if she does not officially resign until 2009, that Governor-appointed replacement would serve until January 3, 2011.

Then, a special election would take place in November 2010 to fill the remainder of the Clinton term.

Now, if that were to be the case, 2010 would be massive election year for New York, as U.S. Senator Charles Schumer's seat would also be up for re-election, as would all of the state congressional seats, and Governor Paterson's position would be up as well.

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