Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is making a local power move to help choose his successor and is raising many questions in the process.
Mitch is 79-years-old and has been in the Senate since 1985. But a Democrat won the race to be Kentucky Governor and with that comes the ability to pick a replacement senator should something happen to a sitting senator.
So the Kentucky GOP, with help from Mitch, wants to change state law so that the legislature picks a replacement senator until an election can be held. Mitch, according to reports, has even made a shortlist to choose from should he not serve out his full term.
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“It just seemed if we did have a change of venue of U.S. Senate that it would be proper and appropriate the political party that held the office would be the political party that replaced it until the next election cycle, that being in this case Republican,” Republican state Sen. Tom Buford said.
“No specific reason why now,” Buford said before bringing up what happened to Rand Paul after he was attacked by a neighbor.
“That could have resulted in death, so it sounded like a good idea,” Buford said.
“Leader McConnell has discussed the legislation with Senate President Stivers and is fully supportive of the measure,” a spokesperson for McConnell confirmed.
From The Intercept:
The new legislation, Senate Bill 228 — dubbed by some inside the state Legislature as the Daniel Cameron Election Bill — was filed on February 10, 2021, during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 30-day “short” session.
The bill alters current state statute that allows the governor to appoint a replacement in the event of a vacancy to the U.S. Senate.
If the bill becomes law, the appointment to fill a vacancy will be selected from a list of three names submitted by the state executive committee of the same political party as the senator who held the vacant seat.
According to the bill, the appointee from that list will then serve until a successor has been elected by voters. The legislation goes on to list instructions on when elections take place in the event of a vacancy.
How long the appointment would last depends on when the vacancy occurred.
Republicans are concerned a successor appointed by Beshear would be someone of Beshear’s own party — rather than who McConnell would like to replace him.
Republican state Sen. Tom Buford, the single co-sponsor on the bill brought by Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, said there has been a discussion for “several years” about changing the way Kentucky replaces U.S. senators.