It's official: Judd Gregg picked for Commerce

President Obama will nominate the New Hampshire Republican on Tuesday -- but it won't give Democrats their 60th Senate seat

By Mike Madden

Published February 3, 2009 1:46AM (EST)

WASHINGTON -- A White House official just confirmed to Salon that President Obama will announce Tuesday that he's nominating New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg as secretary of commerce. The official announcement is set for the morning, not long after Obama gets a briefing from his other economic advisors.

If he's approved for the job, Gregg's resignation from the Senate won't give Democrats their 60th seat. But it would give Gregg an escape from a 2010 reelection race he might have had a tough time winning, as well as setting up yet another battle that could work out in Democrats' favor. New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, has promised he'd report a Republican, but he isn't likely to appoint the strongest possible GOP candidate to serve the rest of Gregg's term.

Gregg would be the third Republican in Obama's Cabinet. As a sitting senator, chances are he won't have too much trouble winning confirmation. (Just look at how the Senate is treating former majority leader Tom Daschle, whose nomination to run the Department of Health and Human Services is still on track despite revelation he only recently paid $128,000 in back taxes on a limo service provided by a friend and business partner.)

Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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