JD Eisenstein suggests some candidates for post of Chief Rabbi of NY: Hildesheimer of Berlin,(Marcus) Lehman of Mainz, (Isaac Hirsch) Weiss of Vienna. I doubt they would have been to interested (see also here).
I also saw an interesting Yiddish Memoir regarding the first candidate the Mablim and his relationship with the Sadigura Chassidim (here):
He writes how most Chassidim viewed Malbim's commentary as being "not as treif as Mendelssohn's biur" but not as kosher as the Metzudos Dovid". The "old" Sadigura Rebbe did like Mabim and allowed his children to be taught T'nach with Malbim.
The story of how the Rebbe was "machshir" te Malbim goes as follows:
Because the Malbim would not bend before the rich men of Bucharest, there was a good deal of dissension during the 5 years he was Rabbi. The Rebbe was impressed and decided that it was a Mitzvah to help Malbim out.
When Malbim was placed in prison (tale of chassidishe mofes about informer dying when the Rebbe said Tehillim), the Rebbe wrote to Sir Moses Montefiore to speak to the Romanian Government on Malbim's behalf.
I also noticed this sefer that has many interesting letters from various Gedolei Lita that I have never seen before.
 Heichal HaBesht 5:3 has a comprehensive article on the subject of Malbim and Chassidim, I don't remember if this piece is quoted.