N.H. Governor Vows To Appoint GOPer To Fill Gregg's Seat

New Hamshire's Democratic governor, John Lynch, is vowing to appoint a Republican to replace GOP Sen. Judd Gregg should President Obama tap Gregg to become Commerce secretary.

(AP)
Were Greg to step down and Lynch appoint a Democrat to his seat, it could mean a filibuster-proof Senate majority for the Democrats. (Minnesota Democrat Al Franken leads in his Senate race following a statewide recount, but he has not been seated due to court challenges. If and when he is seated, Democrats will have 59 seats, one short of the necessary 60.)

Lynch, however, is vowing to keep the balance of power intact, citing Gregg's position on the matter.

"I have had conversations with Senator Gregg, the White House and U.S. Senate leadership," Lynch noted in a written statement. "Senator Gregg has said he would not resign his seat in the U.S. Senate if it changed the balance in the Senate."

"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," Lynch continued. "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."

CBS News viewers got word of the scenerio early when Senator Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) told 'Face the Nation' moderator Bob Schieffer Sunday that "Senator Gregg has assured [him] that if this were to happen it would not change the make up of the Senate. Whoever is appointed to replace him would caucus with the Republicans."

Senator Gregg released a statement this afternoon in which he says, "I have made it clear to the Senate Leadership on both sides of the aisle and to the Governor that I would not leave the Senate if I felt my departure would cause a change in the makeup of the Senate. The Senate Leadership, both Democratic and Republican, and the Governor understand this concern and I appreciate their consideration of this position."

  • Michelle Levi

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