Sen. Craig Thomas dies
He was 74, and had leukemia. So as these things go, this is not a giant shock. But it moved very rapidly, having been diagnosed just a few months ago.
Thomas was a reliable cog in the conservative Republican machine. Other than the factoid that he was elected to replace Cheney in 1989 after Cheney went to Washington to be Secretary of Defense, politically this is interesting only for the lesson in differing state rules over succession.
In most states, when a senator dies, the governor appoints a replacement, in keeping with the idea that senators represent the states even though they're now directly elected rather than appointed.
Since Wyoming Gov. David Freudenthal is a Democrat, that would mean a slight strengthening of Democratic control in the Senate.
However, Wyoming's law is different. The state Republican Party will get to nominate three people to replace him, with Freudenthal doing the choosing from among the three.
I don't think either system is better or worse than the other. Wyoming's puts a premium on maintaining party control of the seat, minimizing partisan bloodletting and disruptions in Congress; other states put a premium on letting the elected state executive choose the best person available. There are strengths and weaknesses to both approaches.
My condolences to Sen. Thomas' family.
Craig Thomas, politics, midtopia
Labels: general politics