Today’s article will primarily be a wrap up of the 2022 Governors’ races. Then just to prove (as if my regular readers needed proof) that my mind keeps going off into unusual political places I have a nerdy tidbit well worth reading about.
All the governors’ races with the exception of Alaska have been called. I’ll go out on a very sturdy limb and call Alaska for Republican incumbent Mike Dunleavy. The only reason it is not official is because it is caught up in the probability of going to a rank choice “runoff” which Dunleavy will win. (As an aside, the rank choice system is looking increasingly attractive to me but that is fodder for a future article(s)).
The Democrats netted two seats with 37 having been on ballots. The only Democratic loss was Steve Sisolak in Nevada. Getting reelected after you were forced to close down gaming and tourism because of the pandemic proved to be too tall of an order.
The most dangerous Republicans in swing states Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Kari Lake in Arizona were defeated in victories for American democracy. As a rule, Trump backed extremist candidates lost.
Term limits ended the tenures of Republicans Charlie Baker in Massachusetts and Larry Hogan in Maryland. Both were succeeded by Democrats which was no surprise considering both states are blue.
Ron DeSantis was returned to power in Florida. (I wonder if Trump will claim responsibility for this win?) DeSantis could become the most dangerous man in American politics. Unlike Trump, he is smart and we can only hope he outsmarts himself soon.
In an inspiration to all those less talented in America, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was elected Governor in Arkansas. My initial comment was OMG. She couldn’t handle the White House Press Secretary job and now she is going to run a state.
I’m omitting a lot but that will serve as a brief recap. Now on to an interesting tidbit I stumbled upon. It deals with the obscure position of President pro tempore of the Senate which is third in the line of succession.
Currently that post (which traditionally goes to the most senior member of the Senate majority’s caucus) is held by Patrick Leahy of Vermont who is retiring at the end of this term. With his retirement Diane Feinstein of California moves into that slot. (If you think that is bad, had the Republicans taken over that spot would have gone to Chuck Grassley of Iowa.)
At this writing the control of the next House is yet to be resolved but the consensus assumption is that the Republicans will control it. On January 3, 2023 the line of succession to President Biden will be: Vice President Kamala Harris, a Republican Speaker of the House (elections have consequences), followed by Feinstein.
It is widely thought that Feinstein is not as sharp as she once was. Her seat is up in 2024 and I think, if she ran, she would be vulnerable even in deep blue California. I am hoping she gets together with family over the Thanksgiving holiday and decides to retire at the end of this Congress.
If that were the case California Governor Gavin Newsom gets to pick her replacement and the seat is still up for a full six-year term in 2024. Newsom can pick anyone who constitutionally qualifies, including himself. I think he has an eye on the presidency so he would not pick himself and whoever he picks is certain to be a Democrat. If California Democrats have a “bench problem” it is that they have too many players for too few spots. The “Newsom nod” would probably prevent a Democratic “food fight” over an open spot should Feinstein simply retire at the end of her current term.
OK, all that is a bit in the weeds but political junkies like me love that stuff. I won’t get into my favorite to replace her (now anyway) because it is a bit far out. Needless to say, Newsom would have a lot of great options open to him and I’d rather see Patty Murray of Washington in the “four spot”.
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