Q&A Friday #55: Tim Johnson
Question: If Senator Tim Johnson can’t continue his term, how can the Governor appoint anyone other than a Democrat?” — Tom_pinko_Delay
Answer: I’ve tried to steer clear of the whole Tim Johnson thing because it’s almost impossible not to sound callous when you’re talking about the situation.
Here you have a poor guy who’s in the hospital and we don’t know exactly how bad off he is yet. Really, all people should be doing is praying for him and his family, but yet, because of the precarious balance of the Senate, there’s an endless discussion going on about what happens if he dies or becomes incapacitated.
In any case, since it does need to be discussed, here’s the rundown:
#1) If the situation were reversed and Johnson was a Republican while the governor was a Democrat, there’s no question that a Democrat would be appointed. When governors appoint replacements, they also appoint people from their party. That’s how it was, how it is, and how it will continue to be.
#2) Even if Johnson takes a turn for the worse, the Dems will want him to stay in there, even if he can’t really fulfill his duties as a senator. Again, that’s just how the game is played when the senate is in the balance.
#3) If Johnson were to leave office and be replaced by a Republican, the senate would go to a 50/50 split and the GOP would end up in charge of the senate.
But, my hope is that Tim Johnson recovers and that there is no need to replace him. Although I’d like to see the GOP take over the senate, you want to take over by winning at the ballot box, not because someone on the other side becomes ill.