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Kentucky governor won’t commit to naming GOP if McConnell steps down

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear this week declined to say whether he would follow a state law that says Republicans could choose a replacement for Sen. Mitch McConnell if the GOP Senate leader leaves Congress before the end of his term.

The Democratic governor was asked at a press conference Thursday about the possibility of making a nomination if a Senate vacancy occurs, but said he would not speculate on the matter.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.Jon Cherry/Getty Images file

“There are no vacancies in the Senate,” Beshear told reporters. “The senator. McConnell said he’s going to serve out his term, and I believe him, so I’m not going to speculate on something that didn’t happen and won’t happen.

McConnell’s health has come under increasing scrutiny after the 81-year-old senator, who this year became the longest-serving party leader in Senate history, appeared to freeze during two press conferences in July and august.

In late July, McConnell said he planned to complete the six-year term he won in the 2020 election.

Asked about the subject on Thursday, Beshear said, “Well, I don’t respect Senator McConnell and his health — number one, not to sensationalize and number two, there’s no vacancy. So he said he was going to serve his term and I fully believe him.

State laws vary when it comes to filling congressional vacancies, and the Kentucky General Assembly changed its procedures in 2021 after the GOP-controlled legislature was able to override Beshear’s veto on a bill. legislation that limited the governor’s power to temporarily fill a vacant seat in the Senate.

Under the amended law, the governor selects a Senate appointee from a list of three names submitted by the state executive committee of the party affiliated with the incumbent senator.

Kentucky state law previously allowed the governor to appoint a replacement for a vacant Senate seat until the next general House election, which is held every two years.

In a veto statement, Beshear cited the state Constitution in suggesting that the bill “inappropriately and unconstitutionally” limits the governor’s power to fill Senate vacancies.

The bill “upsets a century of precedent by delegating the power to select the representative of all Kentuckians to an unelected and irresponsible committee of an organization that represents only a fraction of Kentuckians,” he said. in the press release.

McConnell’s first block on camera came in July at a press conference on Capitol Hill, with the senator stopping abruptly, staring blankly, until he was briefly escorted away. After returning, he appeared to ignore the incident, telling reporters, “I’m fine.”

A similar episode occurred in Kentucky on Wednesday when he stood still and didn’t speak for more than 30 seconds after a reporter asked if he planned to run for office in 2026.

In a statement on Thursday, U.S. Capitol attending physician Brian Monahan said McConnell was “medically cleared” to continue working after speaking with the senator’s neurology team who were treating him for a concussion after a fall in March.

Kentucky has not had a Democratic senator since 1999, following the retirement of the then senator. Wendell Ford.

Beshear faces a tough re-election campaign in the Republican-dominated state. In November, he faces Attorney General Daniel Cameron, backed by former President Donald Trump.


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