Rumors have been swirling since Election night that Governor-elect Bob McDonnell was seeking to entice a Senate Democrat to take an appointment in his administration, opening an opportunity for a Republican perhaps winning the resulting open Senate seat, thus ending Democrat control of the Senate, making that chamber 20-20. That would lead to power sharing, new committee make up and an entirely new political dynamic in Richmond.
Of course, adding to the intrigue are two state Senate special elections that will not take place until January 12 — the 37th district seat that Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli will vacate and the 8th district, where newly elected Virginia Beach sheriff Ken Stolle will leave his seat.
At his press conference today announcing several new cabinet secretaries, the Governor-elect stated that he would complete his appointment of cabinet secretaries the first week of January. If that’s the case, then the appointments will be done prior to the January 12 special elections.
It would be very risky for the Governor to appoint a Democrat to his cabinet hoping to win the seat, and then potentially losing either the 8th or the 37th, leaving McDonnell and the Republicans right where they started. Risky, but not impossible of course.
So, does the one line Governor-elect McDonnell dropped today end the possibility of a change in the Senate? Or are there other administration opportunities that could be available? Just one of the more intriguing questions revolving around the new administration.