Judd Gregg

by Brien Jackson

I thought the Gregg-to-Commerce talk was all a bit of kabuki, so on some level I’m sort of surprised that he’s actually getting the post, but contra basically everyone, the move still makes sense to me.

Let’s put it this way, from the Democrats perspective you get to run a popular┬áCongressman in an open contest in a state Obama carried by 9%. Yes Gregg would have been a vulnerable incumbent, but it’s worth keeping in mind that, in an overwhelmingly Democratic year, Jean Shaheen only beat John Sununu by 7%, a comfortable margin to be sure, but 2% less than Obama’s margin over McCain. And with the historical trend against the President’s party in midterm elections, having an open seat is still preferable to trying to defeat an incumbent.

And as far as Gregg is concerned, being at Commerce is simply less of a dance than running for re-election in the Senate, and trying to balance the need to be seen as working with Obama with needing to keep GOP leadership reasonably happy. And with his replacement being a Republican, the move manages to do both of those in a way that preserves Gregg’s political future, when a defeat in 2010 would probably have put an end to it.

All in all, a fairly well played move by both sides.