The NY Times reports that tomorrow, Barack Obama will appoint Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire to be Secretary of Commerce. Word has it that New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor John Lynch will appoint Republican Elizabeth Hager to take Gregg’s place in the Senate. Says the Concord Monitor:
Lest you wonder, a Sen. Liz Hager would caucus with the Republicans, especially moderates like Olympia Snowe, and would be delighted to stay for just two years.
For Hager, a former Republican House member from Concord and frequent party-line-crosser who endorsed Obama this year, two years would be plenty in the Senate. "I will be sure to call the governor because I would be honored to go down there with Sen. Shaheen," she said.
Hager recently lost her seat in the New Hampshire legislature after 13 terms. She was defeated in her primary by four conservative Republicans who banded together, and she received 297 votes:
Hager said she sees the loss as a victory by the more conservative wing of the Republican Party over moderates. But, she said, she does not envision the primary winners prevailing in the general election. "Clearly, the people who are now in control of the Republican Party don’t want people like me in it," Hager said. "They worked very hard, so I congratulate them for doing that. I just wonder where it gets them in the long run."
Hager is pro-choice and has served on the board of NARAL.
Not sure why Obama would appoint Gregg to Commerce if he couldn’t get a Democrat in the seat, since Gregg doesn’t bring anything particularly special to the post beyond a Senate vacancy in a state with a Democratic governor.