"Gilli" what now? Kirsten Gillibrand does not have a household name like "Kennedy" or "Clinton," yet she somehow got her crafty hands on a New York senate seat, reportedly.

The Albany Times Union connected the dots. (UPDATE: As did the Times and Fox News, who say Gillibrand's appointment is definitely happening, citing anonymous sources.)

Gillibrand, long on the shortlist for Hillary Clinton's vacant senate seat, is close to quite a few of the people invited to Gov. David Paterson press conference Friday at noon to announce his pick for the slot. Plus a bunch of people from her upstate district are coming.

One rejected candidate was told it was Gillibrand, according to a "highly placed source," while another source said "members of New York's Congressional delegation were briefed Thursday afternoon that Gillibrand will be named."

Gillibrand is useful to Paterson because she's from upstate, and she's a Catholic. Appointing her now means she'll be on the New York ballot in 2010, which should help boost Democratic turnout upstate. That's important to Paterson, a former state legislator from Harlem, because he may be facing off against Republican Rudolph Giuliani, whose base is expected to be... upstate Catholics.

Gillibrand, a fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrat, has sneakily wormed her way into contention for the senate by doing a competent job in a series of increasingly powerful positions relevant to being a senator, and by completing sentences without saying "uh, you know, well" 47 times. Trained as a lawyer, Gillibrand is a freshman U.S. Congresswoman who formerly worked as partner in a law firm, special counsel in Bill Clinton's HUD, and founder of her local Women's Democratic Club.

Also: Senate hot.

[via Wonkette]