It's Official: Lynch Won't Appoint A Dem

Some bipartisanship I-can-believe-in-less-than-was-previously-hoped. From the NH Governor himself:

"I have had conversations with Senator Gregg, the White House and U.S. Senate leadership. Senator Gregg has said he would not resign his seat in the U.S. Senate if it changed the balance in the Senate. Based on my discussions, it is clear the White House and Senate leadership understand this as well.

"It is important that President Obama be able to select the advisors he feels are necessary to help him address the challenges facing our nation.

"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 U.S. Senate."

And I agree with Dean at Blue Hampshire: it would be one thing if Lynch justified a Republican pick by pointing to the choice voters made when they re-elected Gregg. Instead we're just left with 'it's what Gregg wanted.'

Feingold's amendment looks better every day.

Update [2009-2-2 15:26:10 by Jonathan Singer]: Lynch does not come out and say that he will appoint a Republican in so many words -- though reading between the lines of his statement, it's fairly clear that Lynch believes that the only way Gregg will join the cabinet is if he is replaced by a Republican, a condition that Lynch seems willing to honor. Whom, then, might Lynch appoint. All signs point to Bonnie Newman, a moderate Republican who previously worked for Gregg and who in 2004 crossed the aisle to endorse Lynch over then-incumbent Republican Governor Craig Benson. Reports say that Newman is likely to vote more like Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe than Gregg or John Sununu, the conservative New Hampshire Senator who lost reelection in 2008 -- though considering Snowe and Collins haven't been reliably moderate, just lest conservative than the other Senate Republicans, that might not be saying much. So perhaps the most the Democrats can hope for, then, is that Newman is a placeholder, leaving the Democrats an open seat to vie for in 2010.

There's more...

McConnell Says Gregg will Be Replaced By a Republican

From the AP's Phil Elliott:

No change in the Senate's balance of power if New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg leaves to become commerce secretary.

That's the word from the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell. He says Gregg has assured fellow GOP senators of that.

McConnell says Gregg has promised he would be replaced by someone who would affiliate with other Republicans in the Senate.

Ben Smith's reporting cuts a bit in the opposite direction, with Smith writing that the Obama White House "is still trying to get a gaurantee from Governor Lynch that he'll replace Senator Gregg with a Democrat." If McConnell is correct, and Lynch is gearing up to appoint a Republican in Gregg's stead -- even a placeholder Republican, even a moderate or liberal Republican -- the value of a Gregg pick seems to decrease greatly, at least from this vantage. Yes, having Gregg out of the 2010 race would greatly increase the likelihood that the Democrats would win the New Hampshire Senate contest, so there is at least some upside. But if the point is merely to appoint a Republican, there are probably better choices who are significantly less conservative or stalwart.

There's more...

Would Gregg Even Stay in the Senate if He Says No to Obama?

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.

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Election Eve: The 2008 Senate races

Bumped - Todd

This is it.  It's time for my final look at all the 2008 Senate races.  There are 35 seats up for election because of a scenario in Wyoming and Mississippi where both seats are up, due to the passing of Craig Thomas and the resignation of Trent Lott, respectively.  Obviously, quite a few of the races are considered "safe" for the incumbent.  So what are the competitive races?

Again, just to be clear, I don't do predictions.  Every time I do, horrible things happen.  So I won't even make an actual prediction on the Virginia Senate race, because doing so would effectively jinx Mark Warner.  And with the election tomorrow, tiers no longer matter, so I'll simply rank the competitive races where party control of the seat may switch.  All others are deemed safe seats, which now include all of the Tier II and III seats from last time.

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My 2008 White House and Senate Predictions

With barely 48 hours until polls all over this country finally close on the 2008 presidential election, I figured it time to make my White House and Senate predications. I'm going to stick them here in the diaries rather than on the front page because my educated guesses are hardly worth that level of attention; all of us are arm-chair prognosticators.

I believe that Barack Obama will win the White House with 364 electoral votes and that the Democrats will pick up 7 Senate seats, giving them 57 (58, but I expect Lieberman to fly the coop). These predictions are based on polls from RealClearPolitics, statistical analysis from FiveThirtyEight, and my own understanding of history, geography, and culture.

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