What would happen if Sen. Chris Dodd had won his race for the presidency?
Well, yes. The sky would be a light green and pigs would be sailing majestically through the air.
But another thing that would be happening is that Gov. Rell would get to decide who the next Senator from Connecticut would be–at least until Dodd’s term expired in 2010.
It’s unlikely that Rell would have sold Dodd’s seat to the highest bidder, as the governor of a certain other state tried to do, but it’s worth thinking about who she would pick. Rob Simmons? Nancy Johnson? Lisa Moody? Headless Horseman? Someone else?
Whoever was chosen would then represent Connecticut for two years, until Dodd’s term expired in January, 2011.
There was some talk that Connecticut would face this scenario no matter who was elected. If Obama won, many people (including myself) thought Dodd might get offered a job in the Obama Administration. If John McCain had won, I think there’s no doubt that Joe Lieberman would have had a very nice position in his Cabinet. Dodd wasn’t offered a job–perhaps in part because Rell certainly would have picked a Republican to replace him, thereby diminishing the number of seats Democrats held in the Senate (I’m sure the mortgage thing didn’t help either).
As we’ve discovered this week, that’s an awful lot of power for the governor to hold, and there’s little logical reason for governors to have that power to begin with. Maybe it’s time to do away with it, and hold a special election instead.
Rep. Tim O’Brien (D-New Britain) agrees, and intends to introduce legislation this session to do just that.
I wish him success. We don’t do things this way for House vacancies–and there’s no reason to have two different systems. Sure, special elections for the whole state may not be cheap, but they’re worth having when something as vital as our representative in the U.S. Senate is concerned.
What do you think?