Romney To Endorse McCain; McCain To Give Up Seat?

Some interesting news in the race for the GOP nomination today.

First from The AP, Mitt Romney is set to endorse John McCain at a joint appearance in Boston later today:

Republican campaign dropout Mitt Romney agreed Thursday to endorse Sen. John McCain for the party's presidential nomination and ask his national convention delegates to swing behind the front-runner, according to officials familiar with the decision.

Romney collected 280 delegates during his run through the early primaries and caucuses, enough to move McCain close to the total of 1,191 needed to clinch the nomination a full nine months before the November general election.

The anti-McCain forces within the GOP, whether voters, activists or talk radio hosts, who had embraced Romney as the conservative alternative to McCain (which in itself is funny) must be livid that Romney is making a spectacle of the endorsement instead of letting the fight for the nomination just run its course. As The AP makes clear, even if you add Romney's delegate total to McCain's it's still not enough to put him over the edge. So what's Romney's angle here? No doubt part of it is to project some party unity, a commodity that's been in short supply with the GOP civil war storyline that has dominated coverage of the Republican race since McCain emerged as the frontrunner. But there's also speculation that this is merely phase one in Mitt's attempt to become McCain's VP nominee. That seems to make sense to me. Not only would bringing Romney on board balance McCain out fairly well both age-wise and expertise-wise, but it would also set Romney up as the 2012 nominee apparent if McCain were to lose this year, something that is probably in the offing anyway.  

In related news, or, I should say, speculation, The Phoenix Business Journal says that "McCain resignation talk swirls" even as his office claims "McCain has 'no current plans' to step down from his Senate seat."

If McCain were to resign this summer to focus on his presidential run:

Gov. Janet Napolitano would appoint an interim senator to serve until the November election if McCain resigns. State law requires that appointment to be of the same party as the officeholder.

As for who might be interested in either being appointed (on the GOP side) or running for the seat, the Phoenix Business Journal throws some names around:

Business and political sources familiar with the issue already are talking about possible interim contenders, including Phoenix attorneys Grant Woods and Patrick McGroder, McCain aide Deb Gullett and Secretary of State Jan Brewer. Phoenix Congressman John Shadegg -- who just announced he was not running for reelection next year -- also could be in the mix.

And among Democrats...

Possible Democratic contenders include real estate developer Jim Pederson, who lost a U.S. Senate bid in 2006, Phoenix Congressman Ed Pastor and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

Pederson, a major Democratic Party donor, said Wednesday he would consider a Senate run if McCain resigns. Pederson said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Napolitano also could be contenders.

Napolitano, popular with Arizona CEOs and tech executives, also could end up with a cabinet post if Barack Obama becomes president.

I suspect McCain's seat would be difficult to take but imagine this scenario: John McCain loses his bid for the presidency and a Democrat wins his seat, pushing us just over the 60-seat filibuster-proof majority threshold in the Senate. Essentially, McCain's last act as senator, i.e. resigning, will have been one final poke in the eye to the party that distrusts him and considers him akin to a Democrat anyway. That would be poetic justice indeed.

Update [2008-2-14 16:15:4 by Todd Beeton]:Just to give you a glimpse of what "true conservatives" are feeling today, here's William Green of on Fox News regarding Romney's endorsement of McCain:

For him to come out now and endorse the guy who really is the most liberal Republican in this race, it's a disappointment, I think it shows his true colors, it shows why it was good that a lot of us true conservatives didn't endorse Romney all along. [...]

I'm afraid we'd have to sit this election out. So many times in the past conservatives have been told "look, you've got to vote for this Republican. Yeah we know he's not really a conservative but if you don't vote for him, we're going to get a really bad liberal." [...]

We're talking short term victory if we were to get McCain in there over Hillary or Obama. Long term, we're going to lose the Republican Party entirely in terms of conservative principles.

Update [2008-2-14 16:32:39 by Todd Beeton]:Romney just "officially endorsed" McCain and asked his delegates to vote for McCain at the convention. He's really kissing McCain's ass in this speech.

Update [2008-2-14 16:36:42 by Todd Beeton]:Romney: "The Democrats are fighting. While they're fighting, let's us come together and be united."

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Republican nomination (all tags)



Republican replacement

How long do they have to be Republican? Can some Dem switch registration and get appointed?

by magster 2008-02-14 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Republican replacement

Lifted from a comment at

How about this scenario: If McCain resigns, Napolitano appoints Jan Brewer [Repub SoS and next in line of succession] as McCain's replacement. [That makes] Terry Goddard [Dem AG] next in line for Governor. Napolitano then could resign her seat  before her term expires, to run for Senate against Jan Brewer or whomever the GOP nominates. This would also allow Terry Goddard to succeed Napolitano and run for election as Governor while actually holding the office. This would strengthen the Democrats chances of holding on to the Governorship & pick up McCain's Senate seat. Or perhaps it's just "too clever by half".
Posted by: BrianClymer

Is this too clever by half? It is fair, to appoint a leading Repub, a statewide officeholder to the interim spot. And then it lets the voters choose between that popular Repub and their favorite Dem.

As for waiting until 2010, well, timing is everything. This is shaping up as another Dem wave year. There is a tide in the affairs of man ...

Or wait until the first midterm election when the party holding the White House usually loses Senate seats. I'd advise Janet, Go for it now!

by Woody 2008-02-14 04:31PM | 0 recs

I don't think that kind of trickery would sit to well with voters. Janet should appoint some old caretaker Republican and run herself

by rossinatl 2008-02-14 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Romney To Endorse McCain; McCain To Give Up Se

This is more like Bob Dole '96 than Ike. I can see McCain pulling a Bob Dole during the 80 campaign and accusing Obama or Clinton of lying about his record.

by gomer 2008-02-14 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Romney To Endorse McCain; McCain To Give Up Se
You caught on to that too, huh?
Actually, that's what Bob Dull, er Dole did.
by spirowasright 2008-02-14 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Romney To Endorse McCain; McCain To Give Up Se

Well, the whole Republican primary has been one big exercise to see whether Nixon-Reagan-Bush Republicanism is still viable as a platform.  We knew the answer a year ago.  They tried crazily to regenerate the brand with a variety of particular manifestations- Giuliani, Thompson, Romney.  McCain emerges as nominee anyway.  

My impression of Arizona is as a 48% or 49% federal Democratic voting state this November.  Winning the state House and perhaps state Senate majority is probably the more reachable and important goal for Arizona Democrats this election, really.  Taking one or two US House seats would be bonus.

Gaming the US Senate '10 there should be a slight statewide Democratic majority lean for federal office, on trend.  What you don't want to run against is a relatively moderate Republican who is admired or appears ethical.

by killjoy 2008-02-14 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Romney To Endorse McCain; McCain To Give Up Se

rumor is Grant Woods will be appointed and will bow out by 2010, paving the way for Janet.

by jgarcia 2008-02-14 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Romney To Endorse McCain; McCain To Give Up Se

McCain hasn't showed up to work for a year. Why should he resign from his seat to run for President full time when he's been perfectly content to ignore the Senate for the past 12 months?

by Kal 2008-02-14 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Romney To Endorse McCain; McCain To Give Up Se

If he resigns his Senate seat, he could use that as a line of attack against Obama, ie "I'm putting everything into this campaign, Obama is hedging his bets, I'm more committed, blah blah blah."

Also, it might be a defensive maneuver to keep Napolitano from being picked as Obama's VP if she decides she'd rather be a senator.  (I think Napolitano would make a great VP nominee, by the way.)

by lorax 2008-02-14 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Romney To Endorse McCain

Romney's (R-MA) endorsement of McCain (R-AZ), looks more like a jab at Huckabee (R-AR) for not dropping out of the race.

Sour grapes?

by Hempy 2008-02-14 08:53PM | 0 recs


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