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I've heard some talk about what would happen in various states in regards to replacing the candidates, depending on which presidential ticket wins. Win or lose for Obama/Biden, it does interest me who would ultimately end up becoming a senator come January. And oddly enough, the possibility I've heard the least speculation about is who would replace Obama should he ascend to the presidency.

Now in the interest of not putting the cart before the horse and damning Obama/Biden with bad karma, I'll look at the horrifying possibility first; what if the GOP ticket wins.

John McCain

If McCain is elected president, then Governor Janet Napolitano gets to appoint his successor. To any Dems thinking of an extra senate seat as a small consolation prize after losing the White House, or at least hoping if would make Governor Jodi Rell's (R-CT) possible Republican senate appointment to replace Lieberman a wash, there's bad news. Arizona does have a law requiring her to replace a Republican with a Republican. However, unlike some states Arizona seems to lack any 'advice and consent' law for the succession, so she may not be legally bound to select from a State GOP-prepared shortlist. The obvious upside to that is that it prevents the Republicans from forcing the selection of a strong successor. The downside is that since Napolitano is the best Democratic candidate for McCain's seat in 2010 and she probably has her eye on the race, which the GOP surely know, so it's potentially a hazardous position for her. The obvious temptation is to choose a weak, unknown, scandal-ridden or otherwise unelectable 'Interim Senator' who she could beat easily in 2010. But the Republicans would probably just nominate their preferred candidate once the 2010 primary rolled around and then criticise Napolitano (probably rightfully) for playing politics and trying to steal the senate seat without facing a real race.

However, did have an interesting suggestion. She could appoint Jim Kolbe, former Republican Congressman for the Arizona 8th. Kolbe served 11 terms in congress, was the second openly gay Republican and was among the most liberal Republicans in the House of abortion rights, gay rights and the environment. In other words, he would be a moderate ally of senate Dems on certain issues and he would be the first openly gay senator. Conservative Arizona Republicans would probably challenge him for renomination if he wanted to run in 2010, but a moderate nominee would theoretically seem tough for Napolitano to beat. And as a former 11 term congressman, Republicans can't say Napolitano gave Arizonans an inexperienced legislator. But then again, Napolitano could also opt to let the Republicans give her shortlist. It would seem mature and bipartisan, in the spirit of the law and respectful to the voters, which would sheild her from attacks and maybe give her a talking-point to use on the trail. Ultimately, it would still lead to a rare Musgrove-Wicker style matchup between a well-known Democrat who had been elected statewide (twice) and an appointed Republican Senator who hadn't, so the odds would still be in her favor for 2010. Possible Republican candidates reportedly include Congressmen Jeff Flake and John Shadegg.

Sarah Palin

With Sean Parnell losing to Congressman Don Young in the primary, Parnell is now set to succeed Palin to the Alaska governorship should she win the Vice Presidency. That's probably a better deal for Parnell anyway, since being a state governor is much better than being a House freshman in a minority who have probably just lost 10-20 more seats. Democratic prospects for defeating Governor Parnell in 2010 wouldn't be great. If McCain/Palin win he won't be as tarred by association to her, since her scandals wouldn't have brought her and McCain down. Ethan Berkowitz and Mark Begich are now likely to win their statewide races, so they would be the two best challengers. But polls have shown that without a scandal-ridden opponent in Young, Berkowitz's position in the House race wouldn't be as good and the same is probably true of a Parnell-Berkowitz fight for the governorship. As a former Anchorage mayor and a sitting Senator, Begich would be stronger, but in any case he would be doing the national party more good by staying in the senate. Beyond that, the Democratic bench in Alaska is quite thin. Tony Knowles would be no use, as proven several times.

Joe Biden

Now back to the happy thoughts; if the Democratic ticket wins. There's been more speculation about Biden's seat than the other three, for some reason, and the conventional wisdom has now become clear on this. The term-limited Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D) or State Treasurer Jack Markell, her likely successor due to weak GOP opposition in the 2008 gubernatorial race, would get to make the appointment come January. Lieutenant Governor John Carney, who lost the gubernatorial primary to Markell, would be one possibility, and Delaware Attorney General and National Guard soldier Beau Biden is considered the other. Beau is shipping off to Iraq, which could complicate his appointment, but on the other hand adds to his credentials as a public servant. You could question the nepotism of Beau getting to assume his father's seat, but as State AG he has the experience to justify it. The pressing question to me is who would be more progressive on the issues out of Senator Biden III or Senator Carney, since Delaware is now a fairly blue state and another excessively moderate Senator like Carper isn't a necessity to hold the seat. The problem is I'm having trouble finding much on either of their records. NARAL has Carney listed as pro-choice on abortion rights, but AG Biden's stance is stated unknown. I do know that the NRA attacked Markell on Carney's behalf in the primary. Being pro-gun rights doesn't necessarily rule him out, even Howard Dean got NRA endorsements in Vermont, but the fact that the NRA slandered another Democrat for him makes me suspicious. All in all, if Beau's stances on the issues are similar to his father's, that's probably good enough.

Barack Obama

Finally, the one that really interests me. Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) gets to pick Obama's Democratic successor in the senate. I'm sure he and the state party will make a good choice, but I'd like to think that Obama himself will get some input into who his successor will be. Again, Illinois is blue and it seems important to replace Obama with a senator at least as progressive as he is. Also, it's worth remembering that even with Obama, the senate is only 6% non-white and 1% black. While him taking the presidency will be a huge leap forward for black and minority rights, it could have the minor side effect of making the Senate less diverse than it already is. If the best appointee isn't black, that shouldn't force Blagojevich to choose a lesser candidate who is, but it's worth considering the impact at least. The good thing is that the Democratic bench in Illinois isn't exactly thin.

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr (IL-02) is a strong choice. He's only 43, but has been in the House since 1995 so he has plenty of legislative experience. He is a staunch progressive and the son of great progressive leader, and his appointment would replace Obama with another black Senator who has been an Obama ally in Congress. His district is unlosable, so there won't be open seat issues.

Congressman Rahm Emmanuel (IL-05) is a prominent, experienced Illinois Democrat, with a proven record when it comes to election fundraising. While he is a prominent DLC supporter, it is worth noting that his record is still relatively liberal and like many New Democrats, he has reversed himself on Iraq. Congressman Bobby Rush (IL-01) is another black, staunch progressive possibility. Again, both have unlosable districts. But on top of Jackson, Emmanuel and Rush, Illinois has eight other House Democrats who could be considered, with Debbie Halvorson and Dan Seals fighting to pick up two more in 2008.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is another choice. She is young, would put another woman in the senate and is speculated as a possible candidate for governor or even president one day. There are interest group ratings for her on project vote smart, she's pro-choice and pro-labor, but I can't find much else.

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn has been elected twice to the second-highest statewide office in Illinois. Blagojevich is not term-limited for 2010, but he could also appoint himself to the seat and let Quinn assume the governorship. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is another speculated name.

Originally posted to Elliot341 on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:34 AM PDT.


If elected president, who should replace Obama in the senate?

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| 144 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Betcha G-Rod will appoint himself... (8+ / 0-)

    ...if only to bail on all his dumbnitude as Governor!

    Full disclosure: I'm an Illinoisian, and I voted for the fool, once.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight. John McCain = Old Boat Anchor

    by JeffW on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:41:10 AM PDT

  •  How about bringing Carol Moseley Braun back? (4+ / 0-)

    It's my understanding that she actually did a pretty good job aside from a) a campaign finance misunderstanding and b) poor judgment in attending a funeral for a friend in an off-limits country.

    I rather liked her during her 2004 Presidential primary run--never stood a chance, but she was a nice shot of optimism in an otherwise negative race (and I say this as a former Deaniac).

  •  I hear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yoshimi, JeffW, soms

    Jan Schakowsky has been lobbying for the Obama seat, should it become available. I don't know much more than that, and I imagine that the hard core jockeying for the seat probably won't happen (at least publicly) until Obama actually wins or seems to be a lock to win.

    Barack Obama will only become president if enough people pay attention, so pay attention, dammit!

    by JMS on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:48:54 AM PDT

  •  I live in Chicago (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan, be the change you seek, soms

    Jesse Jackson Jr. is not Senate material -- certainly progressive but hotheaded.  I don't see him meshing in the Senate, at least not yet.  

    Emmanuel -- I have a love/hate thing with Emmanuel.  He's DLC through and through, but he's extremely smart and God knows he could step in and do the job easily.  

    My personal choice would be Madigan.  Nepotism may have helped her rise in state politics, but she is immensely qualified, smart, a great administrator, taking on issues that are important to people's lives.  We love her.  It would add another woman to the Senate and I think she'd shine.  

    My recent experience with Madigan's office:  our mortgage lender sent us a letter, telling us our identity had been breached by an employee.  I followed their directions, but called Madigan's office for information on what to do.  I expected what I get from city government:  a long wait on the phone and then someone who knows nothing.  An actual person answered in the office that handles identity theft.  She was knowledgeable, helpful, calming.  She hadn't heard about the breach and asked that I fax her the letter so Madigan's office could look into it. She gave me explicit directions on what to do first, including which options to hit on the phone when I called the credit report company that would alert all the others.   A week later I received a personal letter from the office, together with information on how to proceed, direct phone lines if anything happened.  Terrific response.

    Competent, intelligent, with a clear understanding that their purpose is to serve the people and the common good.  

    I liked Madigan anyway -- everyone does here.  But this experience solidified my support for her.  

  •  Thanks for the analysis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've been wondering about this for a while, but I don't know the local politics in the pertinent states... Much appreciated!

    "Animated not by partisanship but by a deep mistrust of all ideology."

    by Surly Cracker on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:50:28 AM PDT

  •  Hah (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, soms

    Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) gets to pick Obama's Democratic successor in the senate. I'm sure he and the state party will make a good choice

    That's a remarkably ...optimistic view of Blago.  He'll probably try to appoint himself. I can't see Madigan taking the job; it's fairly common speculation that she wants to be the next governor, and AG is probably a better stepping stone than a Senator away in DC.


    Having trouble finding stuff on Daily Kos? This page has some handy hints and tricks.

    by dmsilev on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:52:03 AM PDT

  •  Blago & the state party... (3+ / 0-)

    ...make a great choice???

    Pardon me, but do you know anything about the dysfunctional state of Democratic politics in the state of Illinois?  Gov. sleazy isn't even on speaking terms most days with State Democratic Chairman and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Most of the other leading Democrats here are waiting for the mother of all political battles, the 2010 Democratic Primary, for a chance to oust Rod (assuming the feds don't nail him on corruption charges first).

    Whoever Gov. Sleazy appoints to replace Obama would be a walking target from day one.

  •  Tammy Duckworth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, soms

    I've been hearing her name passed around a lot for Obama's slot.

  •  Unlikely Blago would appoint. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    . . . Madigan, Giannoulias, or anyone else from a family who has crossed him in any way.  Giannoulias is too reformist.  Madigan is investigating Blagojevich for his crimes and besides, she's Mike Madigan's adopted daughter -- Mike Madigan being the House Speaker and a long-time brake on the governor's excesses.

    He is all too likely to set out to screw his political opponents, and as most of them are Democrats, it sets up an almost certain primary challenge for the special election.  

    Blago is a sociopathic turd who has grievously weakened the state Democratic Party and disowned his own father-in-law in public, despite the fact that he owes his political existence to his father-in-law, and I do not trust him on this senate appointment at all.  The best hope we have is that he would do something benign and appoint someone who happens to be both a) reasonable and b) not completely on his shit list.

    Therefore, I think we can reasonably assume he would consider Emmanuel, Gutierrez or Schakowsky.  The only shot Lisa Madigan has is if the governor and Speaker Madigan making nice at the convention had something to do with this. But I still think it highly unlikely -- remember, she is investigating him for his alleged sleaze, the pay-to-play deals, the grotesque lack of ethics, the clear evidence of personal vendettas in state government.

    I notice Speaker Madigan has been less of a restraint lately on the governor's lunacy -- that is, things like privatizing the lottery are being seriously considered for dealing with our infrastructure needs, because the governor has blocked all income tax increases and all statewide sales tax increases for the past six years despite the fact that we've had no new state capital spending on anything since George Ryan's five-year plan expired in 2004.  

    Our roads crumble, our railroads heave under ever more customers, all so that a Democratic governor -- a DEMOCRATIC governor -- can protect trust fund babies on the North Shore from having their taxes raised.

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