Senator Gregg is Appionted to Commerce, Replaced by Republican
President Obama just made the
appointment. Senator Gregg accepted'
Gregg confirmed that the NH
governor will appoint a republican
to replace him.
Lynch said that Gregg would only take the job on condition that a Republican be appointed to serve out his term, an assertion Gregg quickly confirmed. Lynch said he had spoken to Gregg, who would be the third Republican in Obama's Cabinet, and to the White House, and he seemed inclined to give the new president and the state's senior senator what they needed to make a deal
The NH governor has agreed.
"It is important that President Obama be able to select the advisers he feels are necessary to help him address the challenges facing our nation," Lynch said in a statement. "If President Obama does nominate Senator Gregg to serve as commerce secretary, I will name a replacement who will put the people of New Hampshire first and represent New Hampshire effectively in the US Senate."
And a possible replacement.
New Hampshire Democrats widely expect Lynch to choose J. Bonnie Newman, a Republican with extensive Washington experience and ties to both Gregg and Lynch. That view was endorsed by one person with knowledge of the successor discussion, who also said Newman, who could not be reached yesterday, would not run in 2010, when Gregg's term is up. That may mitigate Democratic anger over the highly unusual arrangement by giving the party a shot at winning an open seat.
A short history of senator Gregg.
Gregg, the son of a Republican governor who has been a leader in the state party since 1978, clearly does not want to be responsible for allowing Democrats to gain the 60 votes needed for a potentially filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. If Democrats took his seat, they would only need to eke out a victory in Minnesota, where last November's close election remains entangled in the courts.
"Judd Gregg could never come back to New Hampshire [and] have Republicans talking to him again if he left the Senate in a situation where he was going to be replaced by a Democrat," said Kathy Sullivan, former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party.