[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/19/art.paterson.gi.jpg caption=" Paterson is close to making his decision."]NEW YORK (CNN) - New York Gov. David Paterson appears to be slowly nearing the end of his lengthy deliberation process over whom to appoint to replace Hillary Clinton as New York's junior senator.
Paterson has stated that he would wait until the Senate confirmed Clinton as secretary of state before he formally selected her replacement. Clinton is expected to be confirmed when the Senate convenes at 3 p.m. after the inaugural Tuesday.
In an appearance on CNN's "American Morning" on Monday, Paterson denied having settled on a replacement for Clinton, maintaining that he's still weighing several possibilities.
"I'm actually, I think, narrowing the field to about half of the people who are involved, and then I would hope, in the next few days, to get down to one," he told CNN's John Roberts.
At a media availability in Washington later in the day, Paterson insisted in more adamant terms that he had not made up his mind: "I can say definitively I do not know who the next senator from New York is right now. I would swear to it."
As evidence that his selection process is ongoing, Paterson told reporters that he and his staff have yet to review all the questionnaires that he required candidates for the position to submit. He also said it is possible that he would interview "a candidate or two" while in Washington for the inauguration festivities. He added that he may settle on a choice "by this
Most of the pre-announcement buzz continued to focus on Caroline Kennedy, despite recent polls that show her popularity declining among New Yorkers. The New York Post's Albany columnist, Fredric Dicker, wrote Monday that Paterson is "certain" to appoint Kennedy, citing unnamed other contenders for the position. A spokeswoman for the governor declined to comment on the column.