Carte Goodwin gets Robert Byrd’s seat, but could have been placed much sooner
If you are scoring the U.S. Senate, mark Carte Goodwin in the West Virginia slot in for Robert C. Byrd. Goodwin is a 36-year-old attorney who is expected to be the caretaker for the seat until the special election.
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin had two options to fill the seat after Byrd passed away: pick someone soon and force a November election, or wait and keep that senator until the November 2012 election. So which scenario did the Democratic governor pick?
Manchin waited and will likely set up the election for this November, when incumbents are in more significant trouble.
If Republicans were playing this game, they would have been more offensive with the seat, letting the interim stay around until 2012. And they would have been able to get away with it. Democrats don’t play the game that well.
Manchin wants to be the permanent senator, and wants to do so this fall. So with the Democratic Party being one vote short in the Senate, why did Manchin wait until now to appoint a replacement?
Unemployment benefits have been held ransom by the GOP, particularly in the Senate. Goodwin steps in to be the 59th vote, but he could have been there 2 weeks ago.
While governors have had the power to appoint interim senators since 1913, the MSM is suddenly taking interest in the process, stemming back to the replacements for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Democrats have had to replace Obama, Biden, Hillary Clinton, Ken Salazar, Ted Kennedy, and now Robert Byrd. Well, the governor would have replaced Kennedy, except the Democratic Party took that power away, fearing that Mitt Romney would pick a Republican to replace John Kerry.
Oops. This is what happens when you have short-sighted policies.
In most of the history since the 17th Amendment, interim senators have served without fanfare, and almost always, the party in question retained the seat. The MSM’ obsession has hurt Democrats. To be fair, Rod Blagojevich was part of the problem as well.
The Democratic Party needs to understand that it is in the game to win elections on all fronts. Yes, reigning in party discipline is like herding cats. But given that West Virginia will likely suffer after the 2010 census in terms of population, retaining the governor’s seat is important to the party.
Manchin could have had both scenarios if he had waited to fill Byrd’s seat, prolonging the election to November 2012. Manchin can’t run for governor again, thanks to term limits. Now there are two crucial elections in November 2010, and the Democratic Party needs to win both of them.
Manchin has taken an unusual gamble, and in West Virginia, his gamble might pay off. But in an election cycle where Scott Brown wins a special election for the late Ted Kennedy’s seat, the gamble might not be worth it.
The Democratic Party’s slogan in West Virginia needs to be “in Manchin we trust” — for the Senate race and the governor’s race.