Nearly a month after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination for Commerce secretary, President Barack Obama has tapped another elected official for the Cabinet post: Republican Sen.Â Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
Administration officials confirmed last night that President Obama will nominate the moderate RepublicanÂ this morning. The move had been rumored for the past week, although some Obama supporters had been urging him to select Symantec CEO John Thompson, one of the most prominent black businessmen in the country.
One sticking point regarding Gregg was what would happen to his Senate seat. With Gregg leaving, New Hampshire’s Democratic governor would be tasked with naming his replacement until the next election is held in 2010. If a Democrat was selected, Senate Democrats would have a filibuster-proof majority of 60 members. But Gregg said Monday he would not leave the Senate unless Gov. John Lynch appoints a Republican to fill out the remainder of his term.
Lynch reportedly will name former University of New Hampshire President Jane Ellen “Bonnie” Newman, another moderate Republican, to the seat. Newman is said to have no interest in running for the seat in 2010, which would give Democrats a chance to win the seat outrightÂ in theÂ next election.