Fishes, Ponds, Governors, Senators

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

16 Responses

  1. Kolohe says:

    There may be a calendar thing as well as the peculiarities of WV politics going on with Manchin, too.

    A West Virginia governor candidate is not going to be targeted with outside money the way a West Virginia Senate candidate is, because the resource extraction industry already has enough influence on the state level, and other national Republican interests are either already represented or need not apply (due to the party registration differential Dem over GOP that still persists).

    Getting elected on a Dem ticket for any job pretty much anywhere is easier in a presidential election year (when the next WV govs race is) than it is in a mid-term election (when the next Class 1 Senate election is, and when Manchin would be up for re-election)

    Manchin could and should probably win re-election to the Senate easy enough, but winning the Governorship again is almost certainly a far easier contest for him to win.

    Based on when Manchin resigned his Governorship to take his Senate seat, I believe he wouldn’t have to give up his Senate seat until after he was elected governor, allowing current governor Tomblin to name a Dem replacement that would serve out the rest of Manchin’s Senate term. (it’s very confusing because Manchin is the one who appointed Byrd’s replacement, then ran for the seat himself, after the special election was rescheduled) But if that’s the case, it means the Dems wouldn’t have to fight for another Senate seat in Presidential election year (but would probably mean that seat would be written off after Hillary’s first Congress)Report

  2. Burt Likko says:

    IIRC Manchin wanted to fight cap and trade. It was the cap and trade bill that he used for target practice in his campaign commercial, right? Couldn’t do that very well in WV, gotta do it in DC. Bonus: reset term limits counter to run for a second term (maybe, depending on how the WV term limits law is written). I realize the idea that a politician might want to do a specific thing rather than self-aggrandize is odd, but statistically, it’s going to happen from time to time.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Yeah, Warren’s certainly got her hobbyhorse. So does Coburn, though his is a bit broader.Report

    • Or consider the case of Harry Reid. His signature accomplishment for the people of Nevada has been temporarily* blocking the opening of the Yucca Mountain spent nuclear fuel repository. It may not be what he set out to do when he ran for the Senate, but it’s not something that he could accomplish as governor (Nevada governors have tried, a lot). To Burt’s point, there are federal policies that have larger impacts on some states than others, but governors don’t get much if any say on them even if their state is paying a big price.

      * I expect the Republicans to attempt to force the issue this year. George Will has forcing the opening on his list of five-six things the Republicans should do first. The nuclear power industry’s wish list includes quadrupling the capacity of Yucca Mountain from 70,000 tons to 280,000 tons because (a) they’re already holding more than 70,000 tons of spent fuels in on-site storage (dry casks and cooling pools) and (b) they regard the DOE’s original plan of a large repository in the East for fuel from the large number of eastern reactors and a small repository in the West for fuel from the small number of western reactors to be unrevivably dead.Report

  3. aaron david says:

    The sphere of influence is different for a senator. As opposed to being the big dog in the lives of one states people, you get to be at least a medium dog in all of the peoples lives.

    Also, just as an aside, if you truly want to be a good president, you really need to be both. One need both strong executive experience (leading), and strong legislative experience (deal making.) The only substitute I could see for this would be a governor from an opposing party in a one party state. In other words, a dem governor in a red state, or vise versa.Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

    If you’re from a small state, it’s exceedingly unlikely that you come from a small state.

    That’s way too Zen for me.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    There is a classic bonehead political move from 1958 California politics. William Knowland was a popular Republican Senator from California with Presidential ambitions. Goodwin Knight was the popular Republican governor of California at the time. Both were up for reelection. Knowland felt that he had a better shot at being the GOP nominee for President in 1960 if he was a Governor and not a Senator, so he convinced Goodwin Knight to switch places with him. Knowland would run for Governor and Knight would run for the Senate.

    Both lost their elections and the next President of the United States was Senator Kennedy of course.

    As to your thoughts, I think you lay out the calculus pretty well. I think being a Senator would have fewer headaches and stresses than being a Governor personally. I also think the Senate is for people who really like behind the scenes work that is done in committees.Report

  6. Pub Editor says:

    I don’t know the laws in every state, but I suspect that term limits — #6 — play a pretty big part in this. One of my senators, Lamar Alexander, is barred by term limits from serving as governor of Tennessee again, iirc.

    Related to #3 and #4, I would mention job security; I believe governors usually have a tougher fight for reelection than most senators, most of the time. And senators only have to run every six years, as opposed to four years (or two years in some states) for gov.*

    Governors also get blamed for the general conditions in their states in a way that senators do not.

    * Barry Burden argued in this paper in 2002 that this can hurt senators when they then try to run for president; some senators have not had to run close and tough races in a while, while governors are almost always recently bloodied. YMMV.Report

  7. Pinky says:

    This analysis doesn’t treat Joe Manchin as a human, just as a politician. People I know make career decisions based on a lot of variables. Sure, income and promotion potential matter, but so does hunting season, and whether there are pro sports teams.Report