Would Gregg Even Stay in the Senate if He Says No to Obama?
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 12:32:27 PM EST
First Read makes an interesting point.
The Judd-Gregg-for-Commerce-Secretary story is very real. Senate Republicans are upset that he hasn't put the story to bed. So clearly he's pondering. One sticking point is that New Hampshire has a Dem governor, John Lynch, and that could give Democrats 60 seats if Gregg leaves and Al Franken eventually wins. One idea floating out there is a deal between Obama/Gregg and Lynch to appoint a caretaker Republican (perhaps ex-Sen. Warren Rudman?). Even if he doesn't take the job, Gregg is certainly sending the signal that he doesn't want to run in 2010. That is a terrible sign for the Senate GOP. Another retirement makes the idea of netting a single seat in 2010 nearly impossible. This likely outcome in 2010 actually could mean Lynch and Obama are open to a deal that keeps a Republican in the seat until November 2010, since getting that 60th Senate seat in the coming years seems probable. [emphasis added]
Even if Judd Gregg doesn't end up accepting a position in Barack Obama's cabinet -- and reports have the Senate GOP working overtime to try to keep Gregg in the Congress -- the folks at First Read are correct that by openly considering a job atop the Commerce Department Gregg isn't exactly sending signals that he's interested in staying in the Senate beyond 2010. And who can blame him? As bad as it is to be a Senate Republican today, imagine how meaningless the caucus could be come two years from now with a minority without sufficient membership to sustain a filibuster. And take Gregg out of the mix, and all of the sudden a seat that was more likely than not to stay in Republican hands (though far from assuredly) becomes a tossup, if not lean Democratic. Little wonder, then, that Republicans don't like to hear that Gregg is signaling an interest in getting out of dodge.