Kentucky’s Democratic governor won’t commit to replacing McConnell with a Republican

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declined to say whether he will replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with a Republican, as required by state law, if the octogenarian resigns early amid apparent governance issues. health.

In 2021, Kentucky Republicans overrode Beshear’s veto and passed legislation requiring Senate vacancies to be temporarily filled by someone with the same party affiliation as the outgoing senator.

This law has drawn renewed attention amid McConnell’s various health problems, such as his frostbite incident last week, when the 81-year-old was silent for about 30 seconds when a reporter asked if he would seek another mandate. six years in 2026.

At the time of the bill’s passage, Beshear argued that it was unconstitutional. Last week, he played coy about how he would handle a hypothetical McConnell vacancy.

“There is no vacancy in the Senate,” Beshear told reporters during a news conference Thursday. “Senator McConnell has said that he will fulfill his mandate and I believe him, so I’m not going to speculate on something that hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen.”

Andy Beshear is running for re-election in the non-2023 cycle.AP

At the time the law, Senate Bill 228, was passed, Beshear argued that it conflicted with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which gives voters the right to vote directly for their senators, who used to be appointed by the states.

“Thus, the bill upends a century of precedent by devolving the power to select the representative of all Kentuckians to an unelected and unaccountable committee of an organization that represents only a fraction of Kentuckians. Kentuckians,” Beshear said at the time of his veto.

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SB 228 also established parameters for a special election to fill a vacancy in the Senate.

Mitch McConnellSeveral doctors have speculated that Mitch McConnell’s freezing episodes are due to partial seizures possibly related to his concussion.

McConnell has three more years until his term expires, and the upper house currently has a very slim 51-49 Democratic majority, meaning a hypothetical exit could dramatically alter the balance of power in the Senate.

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In particular, the Democrats are in a defensive crisis ahead of the 2024 cycle. They will have to defend 20 seats plus three from Democratic-aligned independents. Republicans only have to safeguard 11.

After McConnell’s second public freezing incident last Wednesday, Capitol Hill attending physician Dr. Brian Monahan said the 81-year-old was “medically cleared to continue his schedule as planned.”

Since last week’s incident in late July, McConnell has froze for nearly 20 seconds in mid-sentence, staring at impassive reporters during a group with the congressional press corps.

He has overcome several medical scares in recent months. On March 8 she fell at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Washington and suffered a concussion and broken ribs.

“Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration,” Monahan said in a statement released by McConnell’s office.

Still, many critics, such as former President Donald Trump, have urged him to resign.

On Sunday, 2024 Republican hopeful Nikki Haley, who has proposed mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75, suggested it might be time for McConnell to step down.

“At what time do they arrive? It’s time to go. “They need to let a younger generation take over.” Haley told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, referring to McConnell and other aging politicians like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Last month, it was revealed that McConnell fell while disembarking from a canceled flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in northern Virginia on July 14.

McConnell is the longest-serving Senate Republican leader, having led the caucus since 2007.

The Senate is currently on its August recess and is due to reconvene in Washington on September 5.

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