September 27, 2023
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear would not say whether he would follow the state’s new Senate vacancy law and appoint another Republican if McConnell leaves.
  • Governor Andy Beshear faced questions this week about the health of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • The 2021 law would require Beshear to appoint a Republican to the Senate if McConnell leaves office.
  • Beshear attempted to veto that legislation at the time and could have violated it if McConnell ever vacated his seat.

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Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear this week declined to say whether he would abide by a vacancy law passed by the GOP-controlled legislature in 2021 that would allow Republicans to decide who replaces Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Lega, if the veteran legislator steps down from office amid questions about his health.

During Thursday’s press conference, Beshear – a Democrat up for re-election in November – would not commit to complying with the appointment law, which the GOP-dominated legislature passed in 2021 by overriding his veto. The governor, during his appearance, emphasized that questions about McConnell’s political future were premature.

As the Washington Post reported, Beshear said, “There is no vacancy in the Senate.” “Senator McConnell has said he’s going to serve out his term, and I believe him, so I’m not going to speculate about something that hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen.”

Questions have been raised about the health of McConnell, 81, after he had two seizures in a span of about a month, during which he appeared frozen at press conferences. A Capitol physician stated that these events were related to a ‘state of surprise’ from an earlier stroke, but other physicians have speculated that they may have been minor seizures.

A McConnell spokesperson referred Insider to a statement from Congress’s attending physician, Brian P. Monahan, who said that McConnell has been “medically cleared” to continue his program as planned and his concussion recovery. In “laziness” is not uncommon and can even be attributed to it. “Dehydration.”

In the event that McConnell vacates his Senate seat, the new law would require the governor of Kentucky to formally appoint a replacement from a list of three candidates chosen by the outgoing senator’s party, essentially appointing The power would be transferred from the governor to the Kentucky Republicans. ,

In his veto, Beshear called the 2021 law “unconstitutional”, arguing that it “perpetuates a century of precedent by handing over the power to choose the representative of all Kentuckians to an unelected, unaccountable committee of an organization that represents only a fraction of Kentuckians.”

With Republicans firmly in control of the legislature, they were able to easily override Beshear’s veto.

But Louisville attorney Michael Abbate told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Beshear could defy the law and seek to install his own replacement — or file a lawsuit against the law.

“Beshear either says, ‘Hey, Republican Party, thanks for your list, but I’m appointing whoever I want,’ and then it’s immediately challenged in court, or you go the way of suing Beshear. adoption,” Abbate told the newspaper.

“I mean, he has the guts to oppose it,” Abbate said, alluding to the governor’s past political battles with leading Republicans in the legislature.

Jared Smith, a consultant who led Beshear’s successful 2015 campaign for state attorney general, told the Courier-Journal that forcing the governor to choose from an exclusive list would have taken away the governor’s ability to make appointments. Is.

“If Mitch leaves office, I think (Beshear) will appoint whoever he wants to and let them challenge it in court. It’s really not a well-kept secret in Frankfurt,” Smith speculated.

McConnell, who was re-elected in 2020, has indicated he will not step down before his term expires in 2026.

However, some Kentucky Republicans have said that McConnell should have stepped down last year. Bob Barney, chairman of the GOP party in Jessamine County, expressed disappointment that the legislator did not step down as minority leader after the 2022 midterms.

“We are all very disappointed that he has not let someone else take over as leader in 2022,” he told The Post. “At that point it would have been a wise decision.”

Of course, other Republicans are standing with the senator.

Scott Jennings, an adviser to McConnell, told The Post that the senator seemed fine during the GOP fundraiser Wednesday evening.

Jennings said, “I looked closely at him and looked, and everything was as usual.”

A spokeswoman for Beshear’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.


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