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Ned
12-15-2006, 12:25 PM
As we all know, yesterday Senator Tim Johnson, D-South Dakota, had emergency brain surgery. So far he looks like he will recover, but it's unknown if he'll be able to return to the Senate.

The Democrats have the majority in the Senate next term 51-49. The governor of South Dakota is a Republican. If Senator Johnson resigns or dies, the Republican governor of South Dakota gets to appoint a new senator until the next possible senatorial election in 2008. In this case, if a Republican is appointed to replace the Democratic Senator Johnson, the majority shifts back to the Republicans for the next two years, because VP Cheney, the President of the Senate, is a Republican.

So here's the question. At this point the governor can appoint a member of any party he chooses to fill a senatorial vacancy. Should the law be changed to require appointments to be members of the same party as the senator the appointed person is replacing?

silver cloud
12-15-2006, 01:04 PM
I think they should, Ned. I have nothing to substantiate my claim, but it seems like the right thing to do.

Kairho
12-15-2006, 01:09 PM
Just a note that this is a states' rights issue so the proposal will have to be considered separately in as many as 50 states.

jimtbay
12-15-2006, 01:09 PM
I voted no.

The process is working. There is a succession plan in place and it does not appear to be broken. People tend to get hung up on party affiliations instead of the issues that need to be addressed.

clarkef
12-15-2006, 01:13 PM
I would vote no. It does not follow that succession must be from the same party. For example, in CA, the Governator and Lt. Governator are often from different parties.

mercwyn
12-15-2006, 01:18 PM
I have noticed that over the years when this sort of thing happens the governors have tended to either pick a spouse or someone else who was close to the elected Senator or Congressman. I think most governors opt to go with what they perceive to be the will of the people.

tiredtravelagent2
12-15-2006, 01:34 PM
So here's the question. At this point the governor can appoint a member of any party he chooses to fill a senatorial vacancy. Should the law be changed to require appointments to be members of the same party as the senator the appointed person is replacing?
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Ned


It is of concern that too many people anymore vote for someone simply because of the party they represent, not because the person they are voting for is the best qualified for the position. Seems to me that the person with the best qualifications, not the most connections in a party, would be the best person to fill a job.

I think of it like this would I want a shade tree mechanic to do my root canal for me? Or would I want my dentist to fix the brakes on my car or the electrical short in my main breaker box? :eek:

Ned
12-15-2006, 01:37 PM
I have noticed that over the years when this sort of thing happens the governors have tended to either pick a spouse or someone else who was close to the elected Senator or Congressman. I think most governors opt to go with what they perceive to be the will of the people.
Interesting that you bring that up. A number of years back, I can't remember which senator it was, the governor refused to appoint the senator's wife, so the senator refused to resign and did live through his term.

Frankly, I think most governors will ignore the people, the issues, and most everything else, and appoint someone from their own party. Looking back in history this has been the case.

To an extent, the people have voiced their approval of the current system where no state which I'm aware of, requires a same party appointment, in that there has never been any real clammoring for a change in this.

Ned
12-15-2006, 01:50 PM
I just heard on CNN that 5 states have laws which require the governor to appoint a replacement with a person of the same party being replaced.

Ned
12-15-2006, 01:55 PM
It was South Dakota senator, Karl Mundt, who refused to resign because the governor wouldn't appoint he wife, after he suffered a stroke in November 1969. He finally left office when his term ended in January 1973, more than 3 years later. He died later that year.

deangreenhoe
12-15-2006, 02:46 PM
As much as I have a distaste for party politics, I had to grudgingly vote "yes." Even if folks vote for someone simply because of their party, they've done so for a reason and that vote is just as valid as any other.

Maybe we should have all senators and representatives nominate their replacement (on paper only, a vice-congressperson of sort) just in case they become unable to fulfill their duties. I'm sure they would pick someone who would be likely to closely mirror their own ideals which would probably serve the electorate more fairly.

greenearth
12-16-2006, 09:09 AM
I voted no. I think that there should be however a special election. Let the people vote who they want not the governor who will be biased one way or another.

DCTravelAgent
01-03-2007, 11:55 AM
I think it is a State's Rights issue - and in fact, every state does have it's own way of doing this - in some this situation triggers a special elections, in others the Governor appoints, and in others the Senate (State) does.

Please remember that our Constitution originally called for each State's Legislature to appoint two Senators.

Gesualdo
01-03-2007, 02:37 PM
I have noticed that over the years when this sort of thing happens the governors have tended to either pick a spouse or someone else who was close to the elected Senator or Congressman. I think most governors opt to go with what they perceive to be the will of the people.

True - except in this case, party affiliation would make such a clear difference. But I don't think replacements should be restricted to the party in question. As an example, my old voting district back in Texas has had a Democrat occupying a seat in the house for something like 30 years. During the last 30 years, the voters have shifted dramatically toward overwhelmingly Republican. However, our Democrat is still occupying his seat, largely because he's doing an okay job and people like him. However, if he ever retires, the voters will likely elect a Republican to replace him. Likewise, if for some reason he were suddenly incapacitated and had to be replaced, the governor would do well to appoint a Republican. Not because he himself is a Republican, but because the voters vote that way. A smart governor will consider this.

mercwyn
01-03-2007, 03:04 PM
True - except in this case, party affiliation would make such a clear difference. But I don't think replacements should be restricted to the party in question. As an example, my old voting district back in Texas has had a Democrat occupying a seat in the house for something like 30 years. During the last 30 years, the voters have shifted dramatically toward overwhelmingly Republican. However, our Democrat is still occupying his seat, largely because he's doing an okay job and people like him. However, if he ever retires, the voters will likely elect a Republican to replace him. Likewise, if for some reason he were suddenly incapacitated and had to be replaced, the governor would do well to appoint a Republican. Not because he himself is a Republican, but because the voters vote that way. A smart governor will consider this.

The fact that the district keeps reelecting this guy doesn't seem to indicate that if he steps down they will elect a Republican, it seems to me that it indicates that they will elect whoever they feel will do the best job in representing them. Given that tendency, a smart Governor will try to appoint someone who would have an approach and philosphy like your current representative.