With John Kelly leaving the Department of Homeland Security to become Trump’s Chief of Staff, there’s a game of musical chairs that could lead to another Republican in the U.S. Senate.
It all hinges on West Virginia.
The governor of West Virginia just became a Republican. If West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (Democrat) leaves the U.S. Senate, the newly Republican governor would appoint his replacement. And that replacement would be a Republican.
The musical chairs would be: Manchin becomes Secretary of Energy, current Secretary of Energy Rick Perry becomes Homeland Security Secretary.
The West Virginia senate seat would be open for a Republican appointment.
“If Manchin were to take over at the Energy Department, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a former Democrat who earlier this month switched to the GOP, would be able to appoint a Republican to replace Manchin in the Senate.
Such a move would expand the GOP’s majority in the chamber, potentially boosting Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare. A repeal and replace bill failed by one vote last month after three Republicans voted against it.
Perry, the current Energy secretary, has also been floated as a possible replacement for former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Kelly became President Trump’s chief of staff in July.”
Manchin faces a Democrat primary opponent in 2018. Plus, the latest polls aren’t favorable toward him. A Democrat polling company found that he barely tops 50% against a generic Republican challenger:
“The latest People’s Pundit Daily (PPD Poll) Big Data Poll in the state, which was conducted as part of the first ever Generic Senate Ballot (PPD Senate Battleground Poll), finds Sen. Manchin isn’t as easy a target as the state’s presidential vote preference would seem to indicate.
Sen. Manchin leads a generic Republican candidate by nearly 10 points, slightly topping the critical 50-percent threshold. In the early survey, the incumbent earned 50.3% to 40.7% for the GOP challenger.”
If Manchin were to take the deal and a Republican were appointed, that would mark a significant change in the power structure of the U.S. Senate.
Another Republican Senator would take power away from John McCain, who scuttled the last health care bill. It would also take power away from Mitch McConnell, who couldn’t get enough senators to approve the health care bill.
Will Trump make the deal?