Mitch McConnell May Be Preparing To Exit U.S. Senate

( Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have gotten the message from the Republican rank and file and could be preparing to leave the Senate.

Kentucky news has been dominated recently by reports that the Republican-led state legislature could be changing the way that a U.S. Senate seat is filled in the state. And as a result of the reporting, outlets have been heavily focused on Senator Mitch McConnell, who was re-elected for a 7th term last fall and who would be most affected by the new legislation.

If it is enacted, it would remove Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s power to appoint whoever he pleases when a vacant Senate seat occurs, meaning that should McConnell leave the Senate, he wouldn’t be immediately replaced by a democrat.

The legislation, which 79-year-old Mitch McConnell supports, would require the current governor and all future governors to choose a new candidate proposed in a list of three formed by the party of the outgoing Senator.

It would guarantee that Senator McConnell was replaced by a Republican – a measure particularly important as the Senate is currently split 50-50.

McConnell reportedly supports the change in the rules, known officially as Senate Bill 228. Republicans in Kentucky have even put forward a list of three Republican candidates who will be chosen to succeed McConnell, fuelling yet more speculation that the Senator is preparing to resign.

And given the recent lambasting he received from former President Donald Trump for his failure to work on a $2,000 COVID check, the timing makes sense.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is at the top of the list to replace McConnell. He is the first Black American to hold statewide office in Kentucky and previously assumed the role of counsel to the McConnell Senate office.

Secretary of State Michael Adams, who previously worked for McConnell, and United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft are also on the list.

Currently, 37 states allow a governor to appoint a new Senator in the event of a sitting Senator resigning or dying. Of those states, only six have laws requiring that the replacement Senator be from the same party.

And in these divisive political times, the idea of a sitting governor choosing a Senator from a different party than the one the people voted for is particularly troubling. Kentucky could pave the way in reforming these rules to ensuring no Senator is replaced by a candidate from an opposing party.