The Corner

Whom to Appoint?

Several readers have suggested that Sarah Palin appoint herself to Ted Stevens’s Senate seat in the event of a vacancy. A great idea — if you hate her and want her career to end, that is.

Ken Rudin, writing in the Washington Post, demonstrated that the countryside is littered with the bodies of governors who made themselves senators. Years ago, he wrote:

Of all the governors who had themselves appointed to the Senate, only one was able to win a subsequent election on his own. Kentucky Gov. Albert B. “Happy” Chandler (D), who came to the Senate in 1939, won in a special election in 1940 and again in 1942. (He resigned his seat in 1945 to become baseball commissioner.) Here’s the complete list of governors appointed to the Senate and the result of the succeeding election:

  • Montana, 1933 – Sen. Thomas Walsh (D) died. Gov. John Erickson (D) appointed self, lost 1934 primary.
  • Kentucky, 1939 – Sen. Marvel Logan (D) died. Gov. Happy Chandler (D) appointed self, won elections in 1940 and 1942.
  • Nevada, 1945 – Sen. James Scrugham (D) died. Gov. Edward Carville (D) appointed self, lost 1946 primary.
  • Idaho, 1945 – Sen. John Thomas (R) died. Gov. Charles Gossett (D) appointed self, lost 1946 primary.
  • Wyoming, 1960 – Sen.-elect Keith Thomson (R) died. Gov. John J. Hickey (D) appointed self, lost 1962 election.
  • New Mexico, 1962 – Sen. Dennis Chavez (D) died. Gov. Edwin Mechem (R) appointed self, lost 1964 election.
  • Oklahoma, 1963 – Sen. Robert Kerr (D) died. Gov. J. Howard Edmondson (D) appointed self, lost 1964 primary.
  • South Carolina, 1965 – Sen. Olin Johnston (D) died. Gov. Donald Russell (D) appointed self, lost 1966 primary.
  • Minnesota, 1977 – Sen. Walter Mondale (D) elected vice president. Gov. Wendell Anderson (D) appointed self, lost 1978 election.

“Don’t appoint yourself” is one of my cardinal rules of politics, right after “don’t choke your mistress.”

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