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Dems Will Not Get 60 in the Senate

February 2, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

A few days ago, the Democrats’ all-but-forgotten dream of a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate was suddenly renewed by rumors that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) was under consideration to be Obama’s Secretary of Commerce. New Hampshire’s Governor, John Lynch, is a Democrat, so the immediate assumption was that he would appoint a Democrat to fill Gregg’s Senate seat. Usually when there’s a vacancy in the Senate to be filled by gubernatorial appointment, governors choose someone from their own party to fill it, regardless of which party the vacating senator belonged to.

But a statement released today by Gov. Lynch puts Democrats’ dream for the Senate back to rest (h/t Ambinder):

>We are in the midst of a national economic crisis, and it calls for cooperation on all of our parts. We all need to work together to do what is in the best interest of our country and our state.
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>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.
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>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.
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>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."

He doesn’t come out and say it directly, but it’s pretty clear… Obama wants Gregg, Gregg requires a Republican replacement, therefore Lynch will appoint a Republican so that Obama can get what he wants.

Reports indicate that the current front-runner for Gregg’s seat is Bonnie Newman, a moderate Republican who worked for Gregg in the 80’s and endorsed Gov. Lynch in 2004, co-chairing Republicans for Lynch. First Read suggests that she may not run again in 2010 if she is given the position.

Now that a 60-Democrat 111th Senate is off the table, will Obama still pick Gregg? If so, why?

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