Spare us the circus. States should elect their U.S. Senators….
Two Governors recently made single-man selections of United States Senators — a practice voters should no longer tolerate.
Governors have the power to appoint “interim” Senators in cases such as when a seated and elected Senator’s dies. But in each of these cases, there seems to have been ample time and reason to hold special elections to allow the people to decide who they wanted representing them in the United States Senate….
By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer
The departure of four Democratic senators this year has cast a new — and at times, unflattering — light on governors and their power to fill Senate vacancies.
While governors must call a special election to replace members of the House who resign or die before their term is up, 38 states allow governors the sole power to appoint an interim senator, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.
Just nine states require a special election to fill a Senate vacancy. In three other states — Hawaii, Utah and Wyoming — governors must select a candidate from a list of prospective appointees submitted by representatives of the departing incumbent’s political party.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich makes a statement at a news conference Friday, Jan. 23, 2009 in Chicago, as the Illinois Senate prepares for a trial that could remove him from office.The two term Governor was impeached by the Illinois House on a wide array of offenses including criminal corruption and wasting taxpayers money. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Choosing a new senator has led to considerable drama for the four governors tasked with doing so this year. All have weathered some level of opprobrium for their choices or for how they handled the selection, with one — Rod Blagojevich of Illinois — facing criminal charges for trying to barter President Barack Obama‘s former seat for cash and favors.
“Politically, the choices made by the governors so far have been pretty odd,” said Seth Masket, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Denver.
Most recently, New York Gov. David Paterson engaged in a messy, drawn-out effort to name a replacement for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s secretary of state. The process was largely dominated by a high-profile lobbying campaign by Caroline Kennedy, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy hoping to win the nod.
New York Gov. David Paterson, seen here in 2008, has chosen state congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, a relative unknown on the political scene, to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, US media said Friday.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Chris Hondros)