Monday, February 2, 2009

Buckley open to possible senate deal

The chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party has issued a statement that leaves the door open to the possibility that Gov. John Lynch (D-NH) could appoint a Republican to fill U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R-NH) senate seat.

Earlier today, both Lynch and Gregg issued statements that said Gregg would accept a nomination to be Commerce Secretary, only if Lynch appoints a Republican.

Ray Buckley’s full statement:

"President Obama was elected to lead and deliver results for the American people, and to go beyond partisan politics to find real solutions to our nation's economic problems. If he determines that Senator Gregg is essential to his effort to rebuild America's economy, then we should trust his judgment and support his decision.

"Governor Lynch has decided to stand with the President at this time of national economic crisis, and we are grateful that we have two strong and results-oriented leaders like President Obama and Governor Lynch. If President Obama does appoint Senator Gregg as Commerce Secretary, I am confident Governor Lynch will replace him with someone who will put New Hampshire and its people first, and work with the Obama Administration, Senator Shaheen, Congresswoman Shea-Porter, Congressman Hodes, Governor Lynch and the legislative leadership in a positive and productive manner."

Lynch acknowledges discussions with Gregg, WH

Gov. John Lynch said today that he has talked with U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and the White House about the possibility of Gregg being nominated to be Secretary of Commerce.

Lynch also said that Gregg told him he would not resign his senate seat if it changed the balance of power in the United States Senate.

"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,” Lynch said in a statement. “Based on my discussions, it is clear the White House and Senate leadership understand this as well.”

Lynch also cited the national economy and said, "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.”

Reports over the past couple of days have centered on the possibility that Lynch could appoint either Bonnie Newman or former House Speaker Doug Scamman, to serve the remainder of Gregg’s term. However, in the statement he released, Lynch refused to name whom he would appoint to fill the seat.

"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."

Who goes with Gregg?

It now seems that it is only a matter of when, not if, Judd Gregg is named Secretary of Commerce. While most people are focused on his replacement, our money is on Bonnie Newman, we were thinking about another set of questions.

Mainly, what about his staff?

Here are some things to consider:

-Would Gregg’s current chief of staff, Alyssa Shooshan, join him at Commerce? Would the appointed senator decide to even keep Shooshan on?
-What about Joel Maiola? Does Maiola take a hiatus from his consulting business to join Gregg at Commerce?
-What about Gregg’s press secretary Laena Fallon? Like Shooshan, would she join Gregg, be replaced or remain in her current position?

These are just some questions that people will be considering over the next couple of days.