Romney To Endorse McCain; McCain To Give Up Seat?
by Todd Beeton, Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 10:40:36 AM EST
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 RightMarch.com 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."