Senate Republican Leader: Gregg’s Exit Won’t Change Senate Makeup

Feb 1, 2009 11:50am

ABC News’ Tahman Bradley reports: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on CBS’s "Face the Nation" this morning that Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., has assured him that if he leaves the Senate to fill the vacant Commerce Secretary post in the Obama administration that New Hampshire’s governor would replace him with someone who would caucus with the Republicans.

"Sen. Gregg has assured me that if this were to happen, if it were to happen, it would not change the makeup of the Senate. In other words, whoever is appointed to replace him would caucus with Senate Republicans so I think it would have no impact on the balance of power in the Senate," said the Kentucky senator.

Gregg is believed to be President Barack Obama’s top candidate for the vacant Commerce Secretary post.

There was concern among Republicans that New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) might appoint a Democrat to replace Gregg, which would give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60th Democratic vote in the Senate pending the result in the contested Minnesota Senate race. But, it appears that the White House, and Lynch may have reached some sort of deal that would move Gregg from the Senate.   

Reached by ABC News, Lynch’s spokesman, Colin Manning, declined to comment on any agreement, saying only that "There has been no formal announcement. This is a situation that is still between the White House and Senator Gregg."

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