Frankfort, Kentucky (AP) — Senator Mitch McConnell Monday when Republicans stripped his independent power to temporarily fill the U.S. Senate in the event of a vacancy from the Democratic Governor of Kentucky. Secured victory from his home state legislature.
The Kentucky Republican-controlled legislature has wiped out Governor Andivesia’s veto on a bill backed by US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. But overriding may not be the last word. The governor calls the bill unconstitutional, which may suggest a potential court challenge.
Vacancy has a huge impact because the US Senate is evenly divided. With Vice President Kamala Harris voting for a tiebreaker, the Democratic Party has a slim advantage with 50-50 seats.
The bill will replace the process that allows the governor to appoint someone to fill the Senate seats every two years until the next US House of Representatives election.
The Kentucky bill will limit the governor from choosing from a list of three people provided by the leader of the same party as the former senator.
McConnell said the bill would improve the way Senate vacancies were filled. Bescher said he would delegate authority to the “unelected, irresponsible” party boss, in violation of the federal constitution.
McConnell and fellow Republican Rand Paul hold a seat in the Kentucky Senate, so Republican leaders are appointed to submit their names to the governor.
Democratic Rep. Patti Minter accused the bill of “blatant and highly partisan seizure of power” on Monday night, adding that “with the Republican governor, that wouldn’t have happened.”
Republican majority in-house secretary Stephen Rudy argued that the bill would put the decision in the hands of Kentucky voters faster by setting conditions for special elections in the Senate.
“The governor is still appointed, and under this bill, we can enter special elections even faster than the current law,” Rudy said.
Robert Stivers, president of the Kentucky Senate, an ally of McConnell, who sponsored the bill, emphasized that the bill most uncertainly indicates that the opening of the Senate is being considered. 79-year-old McConnell was discussing the bill with the state’s Senate leader.
Former prosecutor-general Bescher said the bill would empower party bosses in violation of constitutional provisions that would empower voters to elect US Senators.
Proponents of the bill said the process for temporarily filling vacancies should reflect the results of the elections that sent the Republicans to represent Kentucky in the Senate.
“Should the policy always reflect the will of the people? And I think this policy does it,” Republican Senator Stephen Meredith said during the debate on Monday.
Stivers admitted that the bill raised questions about McConnell, who won the reelection last year.
“Let me make this definitive statement: he’s not sick, he’s not gone-maybe because of the regrets of some people-but he’s going to be there,” Stevers said. I said at a hearing of the legislative committee on the bill.
The bill sets up a special election process to fill the rest of the Senate’s term that has not expired. If a vacancy occurs more than three months before the by-election, a candidate who can collect enough signatures will run for a special election, regardless of political party affiliation. If no one has won the majority of the votes, a final vote will be held between the top two voters.