The Commerce Secretary post is one of the last big unfilled appointees in the Obama administration. They’ve been behind on it ever since Bill Richardson withdrew his name amidst an investigation into his practices as governor. So who’s the leading contender? Buzz is that it’s Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. It’d be a big deal, not just because he’s a Republican, but because it’d create an open seat in New Hampshire, which has a Democratic governor. In other words, if could get the Dems. to the magical 60 number, which opens the door to the most controversial proposals on their agenda — stuff like card check. But it could unfold differently, says the indispensable Marc Ambinder:
Republican politicos don’t want Gregg to abandon the party and potentially give Democrats their 60th seat. They figure that New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) is certain to appoint a fellow Democrat to replace him for the duration of his term, which ends in 2010.
But Lynch doesn’t have those partisan proclivities. He is very sensitive to the coalition in New Hampshire he has built. And he might — just might — find an acceptable Republican or independent to fill the seat.
The White House understands that Gregg’s successor might be a Republican; Gregg understands that the White House does not object to this possibility, which is one reason why Gregg is taking the call to serve so seriously.
In case you missed it, Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus was on CNBC this morning crying bloody murder over card check. He all-but predicted it would be the end of the economy. You can see a video of him on Squawk here.
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