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With McCain Running for Re-election, What to do with Napolitano? « The Washington Independent

Sen. John McCain has decided to run for re-election in 2010, reports Roll Call (subscription).

From PolitickerAZ.com:

“After much speculation that his failed presidential bid would be his last campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has decided to run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2010,” according to the D.C.-based paper.

CNN also reported Tuesday that McCain has revived his candidate PAC, an almost certain sign he’s going to run again.

With reports that President-elect Barack Obama has tapped Eric Holder for attorney general in the new administration, the news that McCain will seek a fifth term gives new urgency to the question of what to do with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat.

Napolitano, a former federal prosecutor and Arizona attorney general, was said to be on Obama’s short list to head the Justice Department. Now that this appears unlikely, eyes turn to other possible cabinet posts for which Napolitano has been mentioned, such as secretary of homeland security, energy or education.

But, as I wrote last week, Napolitano may be best able to serve the new administration by remaining in Arizona, at least for the time being. Her final term as governor ends in 2010, and polling shows she would be the Democratic front-runner for challenging McCain. Indeed, several polls have found Napolitano would unseat McCain if the race were held this year.

If Napolitano goes to Washington to serve in the cabinet, it’s unclear who the Arizona Democratic Party could field with a shot at defeating McCain, who is one of the most recognizable politicians in the world. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is one possibility, but would likely still be a longshot.

Now that Ted Stevens has been unseated in Alaska, the Democrats hold 58 seats in the Senate. There are two races yet to be decided, in Minnesota and Georgia. If the Democrats ultimately fall short of the 60-seat super-majority required to end a filibuster, Senate Republicans will be free to pursue a strategy of obstructing legislation favored by Democrats — particularly on contested issues, such as health care, the war in Iraq and the environment.

In Arizona, Napolitano may prove to be the key that allows Obama to fully execute his agenda.

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