Obama targets Judd Gregg for Commerce Secretary and Fillibuster-proof Senate

Posted: Feb 01, 2009 9:23 PM
New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg (R) looks to be the leading candidate to replace Bill Richardson as the Commerce Secretary-designate in Barack Obama’s cabinet. The choice of Gregg would do two things for Obama, give him a way of reaching across the aisle and helping to give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

However, according to The Hill, Judd Gregg is baulking at helping the Democrats.  “Gregg would never allow his seat to go to a Democrat, the only way he would allow it is if he died,” said a Republican close to Gregg. “He would consider it to be a breach of trust to people who elected it.”

This is a situation of deja vu all over again for Gregg, who back in 2000 was being considered for a cabinet post under then President George W. Bush. What is possibly keeping him from accepting it this time around is what kept him from accepting it then: a Democrat governor would appoint a fellow Democrat which would hurt the GOP in the Senate. Then it was a razor-thin GOP margin while today it would help the Democrats get a filibuster-proof majority.

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl hinted on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace that there was a possible behind-the-scenes deal working to keep the NH Senate seat in the hands of the Republicans. Clever move by Obama, if it works. One question though, why would pick a Senator who has very close ties to former President Bush when he spent an entire campaign criticizing him for just about everything he did?

Update: More on the possible deal to keep the seat amongst the GOP here...

Update 2: Gregg has indeed been nominated as Commerce Secretary for the Obama Administration.

Update 3: J. Bonnie Newman is the replacement for Judd Gregg.