Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kaine Succession--What If!

New rumors are out indicating that potentially Kaine has held a meeting to discuss succession if he were to accept the nomination for Vice President. While this is likely far fetched it does start the political wheels turning. First of all it is likely far fetched because without involving the Lt. Gov. all discussion would be mute and there is no way to involve a Republican in the that discussion.

So let's assume that Kaine is the pick--what happens? He can continue to serve as Governor while runs for VP. If elected he steps down and Bolling becomes Governor. This of course changes the landscape for 2009. With Bolling as an incumbent Governor, McDonnell then likely runs for reelection as AG. Now an open opportunity is created at Lt. Gov. for the Republicans. My prediction is Cuccinnelli moves over to run for Lt. Gov. In his mind he has to make a move in 2009 for fear he can't be reelected to the State Senate in 2011 in a Dem. redistricted seat. Unfortunately Brownlee is left out in the cold. It is unlikely he would translate well to Lt. Gov. and would have to wait until 2013 for AG if he still wants to run.

Even a more interesting scenario would be what if Kaine stepped down as Governor soon after being tapped to run for VP. First why would he do that and give up being Governor. It takes away any criticism in Virginia for not being here to do his job. If Obama looses and he were to continue to serve only one year as Governor there would be little he could truly accomplish. He knows the budget cuts the Governor will have to make will be difficult and he can off load that onto Bolling. Even if Obama looses Kaine as a VP candidate has put himself on a national stage. This would open up his opportunities for the future.

Even, even more interesting is what would Bolling do about the open Lt. Gov. position. I checked the constitution and it says nothing about having a special election for Lt. Gov. Bolling could allow it to stay open until the next election. In that instance the President Pro Tem would preside over the State Senate for the 2009 session. I think it likely that Gov. Bolling would call a special election due to pressure from other Republicans. They would want the opportunity to hold all three statewide positions. Think of it--it gives Republicans the opportunity to have all three statewide officeholders running for reelection for the first time in history. Well then when does he call the special......

He could call it for November to coincide with the national election. This would be fast and likely have the office go the way of the party carrying Virginia in the US Senate and Presidential election. I think it unlikely he would do that. Probably would want a low turnout race to be held in December. Ok who runs....

On the Republican side since the nominee would likely be decided by convention any number could jump in. The most likely would be Frederick and Cuccinelli since they are the farthermost along with have a statewide organization to tap into. The more interesting would the Dem. side. I think this would likely go to Jody Wagner. If Obama carries Virginia and Warner the senate, she would have an immense advantage in fundraising over the GOP. She might just pull it off. (Do you think she has known something about what might happen to Kaine being VP and resigned as Sec. of Finance to run for Lt. Gov. I thought for some time it was odd she would want to run against an incumbent in Bolling. Maybe she knew something no one else did) Heh what happens then? Does she run for reelection or jump into the Governor's race? Heck that is two many what ifs even for me. Let's see what happens with Kaine before we go there.

12 comments:

James Young said...

Why wouldn't McCain resign immediately upon accepting the nomination? In Virginia, it is tradition for the AG to resign while running for Governor. It seems to me that the same rule should apply to a Governor who decides to run for another office.

Brandon Bell said...

You mean Kaine I'm sure. Of course with a Governor we would be in unchartered territory. The "tradition" of AG's stepping down to run for Governor is fairly recent. Of the four that did only Gilmore was actually elected. I don't think an AG should step down to run for Governor personally.

For a VP you are looking at only a two month campaign so Kaine can make any argument he wants. The bottom line is he doesn't have to step down until after the election should he and O win.

D.J. McGuire said...

I'm guessing Kaine would step down if nominated for two reasons:
1) He doesn't want to take the hit for the spending cuts (as you mentioned) and . . .
2) It eliminates the cross-purposes danger of Dems not pushing as hard as they could for O-K in order to keep the Governor's chair. If Bolling is already Guv, that worry is gone.

I still think, however, that this is all a dodge, and it will be Mark Warner. He actually can run for both VP and Sen, and he has a much better shot at delivering the state than Kaine does.

David said...

§ 24.2-212. Discharge of duties when office of Lieutenant Governor vacant.
When a vacancy occurs in the office of Lieutenant Governor, the duties of that office shall be discharged by the President pro tempore of the Senate, but he shall not by reason thereof be deprived of his right to act and vote as a member of the Senate.

Gov. Bolling would have no authority to call a special election. Colgan would discharge the duties of LG, but would continue to get his vote as a Senator. Interesting question is whether he would get a second vote as LG to break ties. Sounds nuts, but that seems to me to be what the statute says.

Spank That Donkey said...

DJ:
I can see Warner's arrogance/greed for power in wanting to do that... but seriously if Obama-Warner wins, and Warner wins the Senate race... simultaneously; Then we have to have a special election for Senate?

Are you sure you can run for both offices simultaneously?

Zak Moore said...

Lieberman did it in 2000

Brandon Bell said...

David,

Interesting point. I'm not a lawyer but if Gov. Bolling called a special election for a Lt. Gov without specifically authorized by code wouldn't his decision have to be challenged in court. Wouldn't then AG McDonnell have to defend his decision. (Interesting that he would be defending a move for an opponent of his for 2013). Anyway couldn't the argument be made that code didn't anticipate such a situation and wouldn't we be better off "with" an Lt. Gov.?

Bwana said...

Bolling will not call a special election.

Holding a special election will likely be seen as solely for partisan advantage. with the state facing huge budget shortfalls, will Bolling really want to face the potential guff for spending money on a special election where the winner will serve barely-if that-a year?

Tim said...

Former Senator O'Brien, Prince William Chairman Corey Stewart, and Delegate Tim Hugo were all going to run before Bolling announced for reelection. It will be interesting to see if they try to get back in. All three are pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-tax from Northern Virginia. And, Hugo is also close to the business community.

Brian said...

From hearing an interview with LG Bolling earlier this month, I got the impression that he thinks that could appoint a new LG. He didn't quite come right out and say it, but that was my inference.

Brandon Bell said...

I would be suprised if the constitution and code could be intrepreted to allow a Governor's appointment for LG but who knows we are living in strange times aren't we!

David said...

Don't see how Gov. Bolling could appoint or call a special election for LG without constitutional or statutory authority to do so. If he has it, I can't find it. I don't think you can argue it is an implied power since the Code does specifically provide for the President pro tem to fulfill the LG's duties. It doesn't he does so until there is a new LG. There are specific provisions for filling vacant Gov and AG. I guess the Constitutional drafters, primarily Dick Howard, didn't think the job was important enough to fill.