Caroline Kennedy Drops Out of NY Senate Hunt

ABC News' Jonathan Karl and Eloise Harper report: Caroline Kennedy has dropped out of consideration for Hillary Clinton's vacated U.S. Senate seat from New York, citing "personal reasons."

After rumors and conflicting reports swirled for hours Wednesday evening, Kennedy issued a statement saying: "I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate."

Caroline Kennedy's sudden decision to drop out of consideration for the Senate seat came as a shock to family members and political advisors who expected Paterson to offer her the seat and her to accept.

Several Kennedy family members tried to convince her to change her mind even after she told Paterson on Wednesday she was no longer interested in the seat.   "He was offering her the seat," said one confidant.  "There's no doubt about that."Kennedy advisor Josh Isay would not specify what "personal reasons" caused Caroline to bow out, referring to her written statement.

The surprising decision comes after her uncle Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., suffered a seizure Tuesday during the inaugural lunch for President Barack Obama. He was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.

Paterson has said he will name a replacement for Clinton soon.   

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