Florida Governor Charlie Crist named his former chief of staff George LeMieux, dubbed his “political shadow,” to fill the Senate vacancy left by the resignation of Mel Martinez. Marco Rubio, Crist’s primary opponent in his Senate bid, doesn’t like it, arguing that there was a “wealth of consistent and principled conservative candidates” that could have filled the slot.
This continues the problematic string of Senate vacancies that have bedeviled the governors charged with filling them. New York’s David Paterson got himself ensnared in the Caroline Kennedy disastrous non-run for the Senate. Blago is facing a criminal trial over his scheme to “get something” for Obama’s open seat. Joe Biden’s seat went to his political ally in an effort to keep the seat warm for Biden’s son. And on it goes. Inevitably, it seems, things don’t turn out as planned, and at least some faction is disappointed as governors try to balance multiple concerns—in Crist’s case, not upstaging his own Senate race and emphasizing his weakness in the primary: insufficient conservative bona fides to satisfy the Republican base.
Perhaps states would do better to have elections (and not, as in Massachusetts, change the rules depending on the party in power). That would save the nation’s governors a lot of headaches.