Many readers have written worried that if Sen. John Ensign resigns from his seat in the Senate, Gov. Jim Gibbons would just appoint himself to replace him. Now knowing Gibbons, such a self-serving act certainly isn’t out of the question. But the more likely scenario is that he’d appoint Rep. Dean Heller.
But what if he does tap himself?
First, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki would become governor and likely join the GOP primary in 2010 to keep the job rather than challenging Sen. Harry Reid. The ethics complaint against him is BS, so you’d have to give him a definite edge over Joe Heck and Mike Montandon in a gubernatorial primary, especially since Krolicki has run and won statewide three times and Heck and Montandon aren’t known that well inside Clark County, let alone outside Clark County.
At the very least, Krolicki would bring a level of confidence and respectability back to the governor’s office going into the 2010 campaign and leading up to the 2011 session. Gibbons remaining in that office only assures the office will continue to be a national embarrassment, in addition to being grammatically challenged.
But secondly, a wounded, bungling Jim Gibbons would have to run to finish out Sen. Ensign’s term in a special election next year. Odds are Heller, who while hesitant to take on Harry Reid in the general election that year, would be all too happy to challenge Gibbons for Ensign’s seat in the GOP primary – and then face off against Rep. Shelley Berkley in the general.
So matter how you slice it, if Ensign leaves office, either way he’s likely to take Gibbons with him. That would allow the GOP in Nevada an opportunity to replace the dead wood with new, more aggressive, less embarrassing leaders. They should get on with it.