An Obama administration official tells ABC News that Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is now the leading candidate for Commerce Secretary and could be announced as soon as Monday.
Gregg would be at least the third Republican to join the Obama administration, joining the ranks of Transportation Secretary and former GOP congressman Ray LaHood and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. (The political party of National Security Advisor and retired Marine General Jim Jones is unclear, though he is a longtime friend of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and appeared at a McCain campaign event.)
Gregg’s announcement, while making the Obama administration more bipartisan, would likely have the opposite effect on the U.S. Senate. New Hampshire’s Democratic governor John Lynch could appoint a Democrat to replace Gregg, thus delivering to Democrats their elusive 60-vote majority, empowering them to stave off Republican filibusters.
Gregg, a former governor, is up for re-election in 2010 in a state that has been trending Democratic for the last few years.