News from the Votemaster
It has been reported that Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) is not responding well to his treatment for leukemia. While many of his colleagues no doubt wish the senator and his family the best of luck, there is a political side to this story, too. Under Wyoming law (and also Utah law), if one of the Senate seats becomes vacant due to resignation, death, or expulsion of the senator, the state central committee of the senator's party is required to draw up a list of three candidates to replace the senator. The governor then chooses one of the candidates, who then becomes a senator until the next election.
How would this play out in Wyoming, should Sen. Thomas resign or die? The Wyoming Republican party would give Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) a list of three candidates, presumably all Republicans. Freudenthal would choose one, who would become a senator immediately, but have to stand for relection to the remainder of Thomas' term in 2008. That term lasts until 2012.
It is a safe bet that Freudenthal would choose the one he thinks least likely to win in 2008. This means that the Republicans have to come up with not one strong candidate, but three. In any event, a Thomas death or resignation would mean that both Wyoming Senate seats would be up for reelection in 2008, increasing the number of Republican Senate seats on the table from 21 to 22 (vs. the Democrats 12). While Wyoming is a fairly Republican state, having the new guy win is not a no-brainer. Freudenthal was just reelected with an incredible 70% of the vote and Rep. Barbara Cubin (R) just hung on by the skin of her teeth. Also, historically, appointed senators lose more often than they win because although incumbents, they did not get the job the usual way--by winning an election.
In addition, having a senator die from cancer would remind people that cancer is no laughing matter. It would also bring up the subject that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has had three bouts with malignant melanoma, former senator Fred Thompson has incurable non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and former mayor Rudy Giuliani had prostate cancer.
This page is the prototype for 2008. The data and map will refer to previous elections until serious polls begin in 2008. The blog will be updated when there is interesting news about the 2008 races.Preview of the 2008 races: President Senate House
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This map shows the current Senate. Put your mouse on a state for more information.
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-- The Votemaster