Russ Feingold Wants To End Governor Appointed Senators

Russ Feingold Wants To End Governor Appointed Senators


I like the idea in theory, but I always thought that Governors replaced Senators because it’s too costly to have special elections and somebody needs to serve in the interim.

Still, this seems like the type of amendment that could easily garner bi-partisan support.

From Political Wire:

The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end.

In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution gave the citizens of this country the power to finally elect their senators. They should have the same power in the case of unexpected mid term vacancies, so that the Senate is as responsive as possible to the will of the people.

I plan to introduce a constitutional amendment this week to require special elections when a Senate seat is vacant, as the Constitution mandates for the House, and as my own state of Wisconsin already requires by statute.

So maybe there will be some silver linings in the Blagojevich and Kennedy messes after all.

  • Ryan

    Feingold is on to something, I think. Granted the cost of the elections is more than the cost of appointment (Blagojevich’s case excepted), it is better to have elections where the democratic will of the people is reflected. In theory, this is great.

    I only wonder how difficult it will be to have 37 (right?) states ratify this amendment, beyond it getting stonewalled in the Senate.

  • kranky kritter

    I don’t like the idea of appointed replacements either. But I think some less expensive options to a full-scale election (with the concurrent extra-low turnout, too!)ought to be considered, like an expedited mail-in election. Maybe candidates get a month to collect 5k signatures, and then there’s a run-off, by mail (saving dough on all that show up at the local VFW stuff) and then the top 2 have a run-off 2 weeks later. Or maybe we force the state senate to figure it out.

    Further, I think it’s a good idea to come up with some sort of penalty for elected officials who bail for greener pastures. At minimum, we should expect them to sign a pledge to serve their full term and at minimum NOT launch a campaign for another office any time soon after getting re-elected. If you are elected to a 6 year term, you should be willing to promise to serve a minimum of 3 years beofr looking toward the exit. To me, it’s about a candidate demonstrating that they truly care about the actual job they are running for and the constituents they SAY they are eager to serve.