Who will replace Obama or McCain in the Senate?

Obama and McCain both are in until 2010, if my math is right. One of them will become President of the US in 3 months. At that time, I assume they are no longer eligible to retain their seat in the Senate. So, who takes the winner’s seat?

Their replacements would be chosen by their respective state Governors.

Makes sense. Thanks! :smiley:

Speculation abounds (just do a quick Google search for countless names) over whom would be chosen. The choice is up to the governors, as DtC mentioned.

For Obama, Gov. Rod Blagojevich [D] of Illinois. Illinois state politics are a mess right now, so it’s anyone’s guess. Some have suggested that the governor might just appoint himself, since he’s not too popular at home anyway.

For Biden, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner [D] of Delaware. Biden’s son (the DE attorney general) comes up a lot as a possibility.

For McCain, Gov. Janet Napolitano [D] of Arizona. State law requires the replacement to be of the same party as McCain.

The problem being that Beau Biden is an Army reservist and was just deployed to Iraq. There’s talk of appointing someone who would serve as a placeholder until he could run in 2010.

Do most states have a law that a replacement be from the same party? I thought I remembered that when Strom Thurmond died, there was controversy because the governor might pick a Democrat to replace him.

This brings up the question, who is the most Democratic Republican in Arizona right now? In the event McC closes the gap in the next week, I can’t imagine his Senate replacement is going to be to far from the middle of the political spectrum. Oddly, in terms of the Senate, the Republican party might be better served by losing the presidency.

Note that the appointment usually only lasts until a special election can be held. And it’s not a given that the appointee will be elected, or even seek election. Appointed senators:


That also notes that a few states do require that an appointed senator be chosen from the same party as the one that vacated the seat.

The catch about mandating a same-party replacement is that it doesn’t really mean that the replacement has to be a party member in anything but registration. It leaves the door open for RINO/DINO replacements who would belong to one party on papar but caucus with the other. I think it might even allow for someone to register as a party member just long enough to get the selection and get sworn in, then immediately switch back out to the other party.

Another strategy, in a case like Arizona where Dem Governor would hypothetically have to replace a Republican Senator with another Republican, could be to intentionally put sombody in there who would be unpopular and easy to defeat in 2010.

And in some states, the Governor doesn’t get complete latitude in the choice. From the wiki writeup on John Barrasso (R WY), one of two appointees currently in the Senate:

It appears that Arizona’s Janet Napolitano is not so constrained, and would be in an interesting position in the event of a McCain election. She either gets pilloried by the Republican party for picking a RINO who lines up with her own party, or gets pilloried by her own party for picking somebody in keeping with the GOP’s wishes.

That just moves the question down to who would replace the governor, then. Unless he’s allowed to be both senator and governor at the same time?

The Lieutenant Governor. According to this list, that would be Pat Quinn, a Democrat.

In New York, the governor can select anyone he wishes (subject to state legisative approval). When Robert F. Kennedy was shot, Rockefeller, a Republican, appoints republican Charles Goodell to the slot. Goodell was fairly conservative in the House, but turned into a Liberal in the Senate.

Walter Mondale’s 1976 election as vice president left a Senatorial vacancy in Minnesota. The state’s governor, Wendell Anderson, thought that being a Senator might be a neat job, so he worked out a deal where he resigned as governor, which meant that the former lieutenant governor Rudy Perpich became governor. He in turn appointed Anderson to be the new Senator. But the voters weren’t very impressed by this maneuver, and both were voted out of office in 1978.

I don’t think McCain will win. But, I’m positive Janet Napolitano would pick Jim Kolbe to fill the remainder of McCain’s Senate term.

The Hill says the Obama seat would likely be between Jesse Jackson Jr. and Jan Schakowsky (who happens to be my rep – go Jan!). Matthew Yglesias (whence I got the Hill link) suggests the 1997 Chicago Person of the Year, William Ayres.

If you have any sympathy for the good people of Illinois, this is a very good reason to vote for McCain. Blahblah is an idiot, and supposedly to be indicted at some point. He would appoint one of his crooked political hack buddies from Chicago.

According to a recent Chicago Tribune poll Blago’s approval rating is lower than Bush’s.

I don’t think that Blago and Pat Quinn are buddies so I don’t see Quinn appointing Blago to the spot (should it open).

Saying that Illinois politics are a mess right now leaves one with the understanding that they were, at one time, in proper working order. Let there be no confusion–Illinois politics have always been a mess.

Since the factual aspect on procedure has been answered, and answers as to specific identities of appointees must be speculative, I am moving this for now to IMHO (though it may end up in GD).

General Questions Moderator