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McHugh to Be Army Secretary, Special Election Looms



Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) will be named secretary of the Army by President Obama. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

UPDATED, 1:17 p.m. ET: President Obama today announced his intention to nominate New York Rep. John McHugh (R) as secretary of the army. At an afternoon event at the White House, the president focused on McHugh's 16-year service on the House Armed Services Committee, on which he is currently ranking member, as experience that "uniquely qualifies him to help led America's Army."

"John understands personally and deeply the sacrifices that our soldiers and their families make every day," Obama said in a statement praising McHugh's qualifications. He added: "As Secretary of the Army, he will ensure that our soldiers are trained and equipped to meet the full spectrum of challenges and threats of our time -- the conventional and the unconventional, the nation state and the terrorist network."

In remarks following the president's, McHugh, who served on the Board of Visitors at West Point and whose upstate district includes Ft. Drum, also noted his personal connections to the army

"I grew up in the shadows of Fort Drum, for the last 20 years I've worked in concert with those men and women of the communities around that great facility in support of the men and women of the 10th Mountain Division," McHugh said. "The Army has always had a special place in my heart and, Mr. President, that's why I so deeply appreciate this nomination."

Original Post

New York Rep. John McHugh is President Obama's choice to be the new secretary of the army, a decision likely to set off an extremely competitive special election for the Republican's 23rd district House seat.

A senior White House official confirmed that Obama had chosen McHugh for the post, news that was first reported by the New York Times's Carl Hulse this morning.

McHugh has served in Congress since 1992 and has served on the House Armed Services Committee since 1993; he is currently the ranking member on the committee.

If confirmed, McHugh would be the third Republican in a senior position in the Obama Administration (not including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was a holdover from the Bush administration). Former Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood is the Transportation Secretary while Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was recently named as ambassador to China. Earlier this year, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg (R) was chosen by Obama to be Commerce Secretary only to pull his name from consideration citing irreconcilable differences with the administration.

McHugh is one of the few northeastern Republicans to survive the last two election cycles and, interestingly, he did it with flying colors, winning 63 percent of the vote in 2006 and 65 percent in 2008.

Without McHugh on the ballot, however, this could be a difficult hold for Republicans in a special election situation. According to Swing State Project calculations, Obama carried the 23rd district 52 percent to 47 percent over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008 and four years earlier George W. Bush won it by a similar 51 percent to 47 percent margin.

The sole authority to declare a special election rests with Gov. David Paterson (D). He is under no set timetable to issue an election proclamation declaring the seat vacant but once he does the special must happen within 40 days.

McHugh's massive 23rd district includes that far northern regions of Upstate New York including the city of Plattsburgh. With New York slated to lose one (or even two) congressional districts in the next round of redistricting, the 23rd may cease to exist in a few years time.

Given that political reality, McHugh had been looking for a graceful exit of late. He had been rumored as a potential state Senate candidate in recent years but this offer from Obama is far more attractive politically.

The list of potential candidates for the McHugh opening is in its infant stages. State Sen. Darrel Aubertine, who won a special election in a district that covers much of the western half of the 23rd in February 2008, could be an attractive candidate for Democrats. Some Republican insiders have already begun to tout Robert Taub, McHugh's chief of staff, as a potential candidate.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 2, 2009; 9:50 AM ET
Categories:  House , White House  
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Comments

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Posted by: janeseven | June 2, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

"this would be laughable, if it did not involve life and death, war or peace; last time i checked being secretary of the army means running the largest branch of the US armed forces, the most powerful on earth; and yet, here we have what appears in political and media circles the crux of the matter of this appointment - who will replace this Republican congressman; what qualifies this guy to be secretary of the army? meanwhile back to the news Posted by: notebookwriter"

Service Secretaries exist to get the individual services budgets written and passed. That means knowing what is needed, what can be passed over, and what needs to be fought for. Other than that the Secretary looks after the non military needs of his troops. Warfighting, war readiness, strategy, tactics get left to the Generals.

Note that when Barack posts another republican he is one who MIGHT help lead the Republican Party back to the center, and in the process puts another Republican seat out there for the taking. He hires the voices of reason and the "New Faces" Newt, Rush, and Dick, of the Republican Party grow older and more morose. And they don't even miss their former comrades.

Just curious, does Barack have a USCF rating?

Posted by: ceflynline | June 2, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

eyepublius wrote, "I got whacked by the Gingrich thingy".

This calls to mind many images, none of which could be printed in a mainstream newspaper.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | June 2, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

drindl

Whatever blows your skirt up. Nice retort. You got me. Of course, you completely missed my point. Which was Obama not addressing a murder at an ARMY recruiting center during his announcement of the new ARMY secretary. Whether he was going to a Broadway show, going to a Vegas fundraiser, or thinking strategically, he should have. Do you think that had the shooting happened before his date with his wife in NYC he would have canceled? Not a chance in hell. Book on it. I'm done. It's way too nice a day out here to argue with a liberal. Aloha.

Posted by: lure1 | June 2, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

McHugh looks a little bit like Dan Rooney, who is perhaps stealthily taking over the government from his post as ambassador to Ireland. Now if we could just get Jerome Bettis in charge of getting universal health coverage across the goal line....

Posted by: douglaslbarber | June 2, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I ran against John McHugh in 1994 (my first run and I got whacked by the Gingrich thingy). I wanted to oppose him in 2008, but was unable to get on the primary ballot - there was too much insider politics against me ... John's a good choice.

Now the fun and games and wild speculation begin for the district special election once he is confirmed the seat is vacant.

The wheels are already turning in the back rooms - the party will "pick, choose, select, annoint, crown" or whatever other term one chooses. The party insiders will get the candidate they want; not necessarily the best person for the job that lies ahead, and one that would be in the best interest of the people of this vast district.

Big money will be the focus - as it always it - military experience, other skills, indepth knowledge of tough issues like war, intelligence (and torture), etc probably will not matter much - I know I tried to bring those issues to the forefront in 2008 and look where that got me! It will be fun to watch, however ...

Posted by: eyepublius | June 2, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama keeps plucking moderate Republicans to be in his administration. Like he's helping the GOP purify itself...

Posted by: Roofelstoon | June 2, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"ure 1: The President has more pressing matters to talk about the murder of a soldier. Think strategically, please.

30 Year Army Veteran
--------------------------------------------
Like going to a Broadway show? Sorry, but that was too easy."

He went to the show before the shooting, but reality never stands of the way of you nutters.

Posted by: drindl | June 2, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Great. The country overwhelmingly votes Democrats into office and what do we get? More war and a.Another Republican pick.

Posted by: SarahBB | June 2, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Can't Blago just appoint a replacement??

Posted by: newbeeboy | June 2, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

lure1:

Maybe that tells you something about the pecking order of the Armed Services. BHO spent an hour today at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda meeting with patients and awarding a couple of Purple Hearts.

Posted by: mnteng | June 2, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

lure1:

Ouch!

Posted by: JakeD | June 2, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TheTruthTeller:

Lure 1: The President has more pressing matters to talk about the murder of a soldier. Think strategically, please.

30 Year Army Veteran
--------------------------------------------
Like going to a Broadway show? Sorry, but that was too easy.


Posted by: lure1 | June 2, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

TheTruthTeller:

Does the President have more pressing matters to talk about than the murder of an abortionist? Think politically, please.

Posted by: JakeD | June 2, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Too bad you refused to answer my questions to you, way back when, or I would have been more than glad to answer your question to me.

Posted by: JakeD | June 2, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Lure 1: The President has more pressing matters to talk about the murder of a soldier. Think strategically, please.

30 Year Army Veteran

Posted by: TheTruthTeller | June 2, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Bet you sent flowers to the guy who murdered a doctor in a church, hu jaked? he's probably your hero.

Posted by: drindl | June 2, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

lure1:

The abortionist shooting got his attention though, didn't it?

Posted by: JakeD | June 2, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

Me neither. Don't know anything about the guy. I thought I read somewhere that he's a dedicated tax cutter.

I seem to remember an Adm. McHugh (JAG?) and of course the Penn State fullback Sean McHugh.

Posted by: mnteng | June 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

This might not be as contentious a race as has been suggested. In 2012 New York will face re-districting. The loss of one seat is likely. With the Democratic majority in the Senate & Assembly it would seem likely that they would be inclined to elimiminate this leaning Republican, up-Up state district. Whoever wins this seat may hold it for only three years or so.

Posted by: MitchinADK | June 2, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama calls a press conference to announce his new Army Secretary. Yet, the commander in chief is silent on the shooting at an ARMY recruitment office in Little Rock. Not a word of condolence to the family of the young soldier killed. No words of encouragement to ARMY recruiters. And not one word condemning the actions of the wannabe jihadist murderer.

Posted by: lure1 | June 2, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin asks
"So, mnteng and bsimon1, what do we actually know about him?"

nothing, for me. Never heard of him.

"Is he Gates' pick?"

The NYT article (see Fix's link) says he helped usher Gates' procurement legislation through Congress. So presumably, yes.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I have got a better idea: let Sotomayer be the Army secretary and nominate this guy as a Supreme Court judge.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | June 2, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"Like all Democrap Socialists, Bozo Obama always puts his political parties power interests above the interests of our country."

armpeg is so comically stupid it's embarassing to watch. It's too sad to even laugh at.

Posted by: drindl | June 2, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I hate to hear that Pete Geren is being replaced as Sec. of the Army. Why do we need a replacement?? I can't say enough good things about Pete Geren. As the mother of a combat wounded Iraq war veteran, my son and I spent the first 2 years after his medical discharge from the Army fighting the VA and the Army for various things related to his disability and healthcare needs. It was unfathomable that a decorated combat wounded vet would have to even fight for such things. I contacted patient advocates, VA hospital administrators, journalists in both radio and newspapers, politicians from the President to various senators and both Chairmen of the House and Senate sub-committees on Vet Affairs. 95% of them didn't even acknowledge my literal pleas for help and those that did speak to me were at times condescending and dismissive. The one Senator that truly did try to help ultimately was unsuccessful. After that failure, I decided to take matters into my own hands and made my way painstakingly into the Pentagon which is not an easy thing to do. An "angel" along the way gave me Sec. Geren's email address and assured me that the Sec. would respond to me if I emailed him. I complied but did not think for a second that I would obtain the attention of the Sec. of the Army. To my amazement Sec. Pete Geren responded to me immediately and respectfully and ordered a full investigation into my concerns and allegations. He was the one bright light in a long hard fought battle and to finally find someone who actually listened, cared, and validated my son's needs and issues post combat injury felt like finding water after being lost in the desert! While so many in Washington, in their Ivory Tower may be saying all the right things about taking care of vets, yadda, yadda, yadda,...in our experience, the truth is that outpatient combat wounded vets throughout this country are frequently NOT getting GOOD healthcare and worse yet they are being cheated on their Army disability. It was beyond fantastic to discover that the guy at the top, Sec. Pete Geren was a bigger, better person than everyone from the President (Bush) on down because he actually did give a damn about "just one soldier" which means he doesn't just say he cares, he puts his caring into action. I hate to see Pete Geren go just when I finally found someone who really meant what they said and said what they meant. What a great loss to our soldiers.

Posted by: GeneralG | June 2, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"The one and only reason Bozo Obama has chosen McHugh (R-NY) " is that President Obama is so far above your intelligence level you look like you're still emerging from the primordial swamp.

Posted by: rias2500 | June 2, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

So, mnteng and bsimon1, what do we actually know about him? Is he Gates' pick?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The one and only reason Bozo Obama has chosen McHugh (R-NY) is because he wants McHugh's seat, which, without McHugh, will go to a Democrap Socialist. Like all Democrap Socialists, Bozo Obama always puts his political parties power interests above the interests of our country.

Posted by: armpeg | June 2, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

From McHugh's House bio (mchugh.house.gov):
"Rep. McHugh began his public service career in 1971 in his hometown of Watertown, where he served for five years as a Confidential Assistant to the City Manager. Thereafter, he joined the staff of New York State Senator H. Douglas Barclay, where he served as Chief of Research and Liaison with local governments for nine years. Succeeding Senator Barclay in 1984, Rep. McHugh served four terms in the legislature's upper house before coming to Congress. "

bsimon1:

Thanks for putting even more CD trivia in my head ... I think.

Posted by: mnteng | June 2, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: wmaclean

"I think having a Republican like McHugh is a brilliant stroke for the Obama"

--

Brilliant because of his abilities or brilliant because you see it as shrewd political manuvering? I think you see it as the latter. And I can understand that. Just look at Barry's Court Nominee. That is how he operates.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | June 2, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comments!

But is there any way of having them show up in chronological order, so that one can follow the train of thought?!

Posted by: Astrogal | June 2, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

WHO'S CO-OPTING WHOM?


Why, when I read Chris' post and the accompanying comments, do I keep thinking about the movie "The Manchurian Candidate"?

Will McHugh rubber-stamp policies such as the Army's advocacy of microwave radiation "directed energy weapons" which degrade the mind and body and can be used to influence thought, mood and behavior -- and apparently are being used against Americans who have been unjustly "targeted" by certain secretive government agencies and commands?

Does the Navy have ships?

Obama had to co-opt and disarm elements within the bureaucracy who were a threat to his presidency. But by putting the opposition party in firm control of America's military might, has he proven himself to be the one who has been co-opted?

What's "conditioning" POTUS' thought processes? Should progressives who got Obama elected attempt an "intervention"?

Does McHugh really share the same "core values" that POTUS talks about so much?

Is this why the "extrajudicial targeting and punishment network" spawned or expanded under Bush-Cheney continues to persecute innocent Americans under Team Obama?

Mssrs. Axelrod and Emanuel: Please read this and recommend to POTUS and AG Holder:

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is co-opted):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 2, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The Fix has apparently retracted his Pawlenty post, which announced this:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/06/02/pawlenty_announcement/

"Pawlenty has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference to talk about his future plans, and sources at the Capitol with knowledge of the governor's plans have told Minnesota Public Radio News that Pawlenty will announce he will not seek re-election next year."

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 2, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Word is already circulating around here that former state Sen and GOP candidate in the 24th CD, Raymond Meier, is trying to grab the nomination.

Posted by: Upstate_Dem | June 2, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I think having a Republican like McHugh is a brilliant stroke for the Obama administration as he reaches across the to the other party to co-join forces, thinking and analysis for our military operations. This involves just the Army.

Posted by: wmaclean | June 2, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

As ranking member of the H ASC and as co-chair of the "Army Caucus" and representing Ft. Drum, he surely knows the politics of Army procurement. I assume he has cultivated good relationships with brass. I assume he is committed to Bob Gates' procurement restructuring. I assume all of this because I know virtually nothing about the man but guess that he was not picked merely because he was a R from a soon-to-be-erased CD.

I too find a big hole in his biography: Utica College B.A. 1970, Rockefeller M.A. 1977 - no service in the military. But my friends who served, even if they despise Cheney now, all think Cheney was a very good SecDef, even though he was a draft "avoider" and deferment darling.


Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 2, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

mnteng writes
"Actually, ME-2 is the largest (geographically) CD east of the Mississippi by a long shot. Of course, nothing compares to AK-AL."

I wrote
"wikipedia says Maine's 2nd district is the largest district east of the Mississippi."


Just to geek out on this a bit longer, Minnesota's 8th district is larger than ME-2. Problem is, it contains the headwaters of the Mississippi, which means it is both east and west of the Mississippi. (Mn 2,3,4,5 & 6 all span the river)

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 2, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Word is already circulating around here that former state Sen and GOP candidate in the 24th CD, Raymond Meier, is trying to grab the nomination.

Posted by: Upstate_Dem | June 2, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

And Pataki -- he was best known as government for being pro-environment. The small village I live in, for instance, got quite a bit of state money for cleaning up its old industrial waterfront and repurposing it as a park.

Posted by: drindl | June 2, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@thomasmc1957 - No, just those who think they were the only ones who did vote for him.

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 2, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

kmannk writes
"Also if I recall correctly, it is the largest congressional district (in land-area) east of the Mississippi."

Curiosity got the better of me; wikipedia says Maine's 2nd district is the largest district east of the Mississippi.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 2, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

kmannk:

Actually, ME-2 is the largest (geographically) CD east of the Mississippi by a long shot. Of course, nothing compares to AK-AL.

Posted by: mnteng | June 2, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

If Senator Aubertine were to run for the seat, it would jepordize NY's razor thin State Senate Majority. It should be interesting to see who runs on both sides and the fallout it causes, as this is as much an area of personality as it is party. If the Democrats lose the State Senate, it will hurt their redistricting chances.

Also if I recall correctly, it is the largest congressional district (in land-area) east of the Mississippi.

Posted by: kmannk | June 2, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama's message is clear: the GOP may not want moderates, but we do.

People of good faith and intelligence have a pretty clear choice before them.

Posted by: nodebris | June 2, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Obama never misses an opportunity to turn his back on the people who voted for him!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | June 2, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

First of all NY Republicans are more democrat than GOP. Look at who replaced Hillary, she was more GOP than democrat! He's a Rockefeller Republican which means he's right in line with what the left likes to call "moderate democrats". Don't read too much into it. His district will be carved up and turned dem once he's out.I wonder what the illegal alien population is in that district?

Posted by: vgailitis | June 2, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

What does the Army Secretary do besides buy stuff?

Posted by: Heerman532 | June 2, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Go for it. Make sure that no hispanic ever vote R again!

"Yesterday, C-SPAN invited right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan onto its hour-long Washington Journal show. In recent days, Buchanan has made headlines for spewing hatred toward Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Yesterday, he continued, mocking the fact that she was still struggling with English while in college:

BUCHANAN: Well I, again in that Saturday piece, she went to Princeton. She graduated first in her class it said. But she herself said she read, basically classic children’s books to read and learn the language and she read basic English grammars and she got help from tutors. I think that, I mean if you’re, frankly if you’re in college and you’re working on Pinocchio or on the troll under the bridge, I don’t think that’s college work.?

Posted by: drindl | June 2, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

this would be laughable, if it did not involve life and death, war or peace; last time i checked being secretary of the army means running the largest branch of the US armed forces, the most powerful on earth; and yet, here we have what appears in political and media circles the crux of the matter of this appointment - who will replace this Republican congressman;

what qualifies this guy to be secretary of the army?

meanwhile back to the news

too bad there isn't spell check

Posted by: notebookwriter | June 2, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Obama plays the long game, always. With the Huntsman appointment and now this he is siphoning off any potential GOP moderates into his own administration. Smart and canny, outwitting the knucklewalkers at every turn.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 2, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Yeah they lost in Nov but will be back big time in 2010.

==

Based on what?

(shades eyes, rotates head)

Nope, nothing

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 2, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: bigman5: What's up with the kissing up to the GOP?Didn't they lose in Nov?

-------------------------------------------

Yeah they lost in Nov but will be back big time in 2010. Obama's handlers see the writing on the wall.

Besides he isn't reaching out he is reaching in...its about national defense and even Obama understands that you can't have dems in charge of defense...


Posted by: Straightline | June 2, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse
===============================

THE GENERAL IS an AMERICAN First and Always.

To find a vett a competant person is the most important aspect of a Leader. Republicans will be voting for Obama because they want a President that governs our country with healthy intent.

You NEOCONS control the GOP but you do not control the sentient Republicans who know that it is country first party second.

Crony Capitalism and Politics are out..
One day the Republican swill be kicking you NEOCON SOBs out the door.

You can form your beloved Third Party and take your Mindless Bigoted and Racist Neocon followers with you.

Fei Hu


Posted by: Fei_Hu | June 2, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

he couldn't screw things up anymore then obama has.

Posted by: badz34 | June 2, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Competence before cronyism. The promise of bipartisanship is being kept as qualified Republicans are selected for key positions. President Obama is changing the way Washington works and we hope that this may unite the nation.

Posted by: arizona7 | June 2, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse


Ha Ha. Repubs will lose *another* seat. LOL!


Posted by: sequoiaqueneaux | June 2, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: bigman5: What's up with the kissing up to the GOP?Didn't they lose in Nov?

-------------------------------------------

Yeah they lost in Nov but will be back big time in 2010. Obama's handlers see the writing on the wall.

Besides he isn't reaching out he is reaching in...its about national defense and even Obama understands that you can't have dems in charge of defense...

Posted by: Straightline | June 2, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Who is minding the Republican store? ANYONE?

Forget the "bipartisan" BS. What Obama is doing is coopting all potential leaders of the Republican Party in the next several years. They see no particular reason to stick around, given the parlous state of the Party "leadership" so they willingly jump ship.

It's like when the dominant mob family integrates the star players from a rival it is in the process of wiping out. Pitiful.

Posted by: Clio1 | June 2, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I actually live in Congressman McHugh's district and, while I am an active Democrat, I have voted for him often. John has been a good friend to Labor, Education and Higher Education, not to mention the Armed Services. Remember, Fort Drum, home of the fabled 10th Mountain Division, is in his district. He'll be a conscientious, well-informed and effective Secretary of the Army. Once again, the President has made a good choice. As to the special election and the prospects of the 23rd being cannibalized...it's a huge geographic district, embracing all of the Adirondacks and it needs an advocate at the federal level. The democrats making decisions about redistricting should and must bear that in mind.
And, as to why he missed serving in uniform, I'm guessing he was in college and then law school until 1973 or so by which time the demand for draftees was greatly diminished.

Posted by: plattpatty | June 2, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I am originally from Congressman McHugh's district. He represents a large region including the Northern Adirondacks and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Valley. The district is a traditional, up-by-your-bootstraps Republican area: small business, agriculture, and tourism are the lifeblood of the region. But overall the people of the region are more practical than ideological; in that regard the region is somewhat like Iowa.

I think McHugh is a good choice for Army Secretary. Through years of representing the large Fort Drum military base and serving on the House Armed Services Committee, he has a depth of familiarity with issues and brings an independent mindset to decisionmaking.

As for the district itself, I believe Mr. Cilizza is incorrect: it has gone blue for the past several presidential election cycles. Kerry won it in 2004, Gore won it in 2000. I have been keeping an eye on the region since I moved to DC for college 10 years ago, and have enjoyed watching it tilt from a reliably red district to a more politically moderate district.

Whether it actually could go Democratic in 2010 is an open question though. The Democrats have a good chance if they nominate an area native and a pro-military Democrat -- a John Murtha type (male or female). If not, the seat will likely remain Republican -- unless re-districting in 2010 substantially dilutes the current majority Republican party affiliation.

Posted by: ionospherey | June 2, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

twshen5 beat me to it--Gates was the first. This is the third elected Republican, but Gates is definitely a Republican.

Posted by: whobedatlupe | June 2, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

McHugh's congressional/political experience is laudable, I guess. He was born in 1948, however--so how did he avoid serving on active duty??

Posted by: pumor | June 2, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

What's up with the kissing up to the GOP?Didn't they lose in Nov?

Posted by: bigman5 | June 2, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't know Congressman John McHugh's record but this sounds like good news. As the ranking minority member on the House Armed Services Committee he definitely possesses the experience to serve as Secretary of the Army.

This is another case of President Barack Obama reaching out to the other side. It seems that unlike previous presidents Obama is trying to fulfill his promise that he will have members of the other party serve in prominent positions in his cabinet.

Posted by: fable104 | June 2, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

He would be the 4th Republican. Gates was the first.

Posted by: twshen5 | June 2, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The listing of Republicans holding senior positions in this story omits Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Posted by: hawkeyes1 | June 2, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Is it not possible to find government appointees who aren't currently members of Congress?!?!? Enough of the special elections and selling of Congressional seats.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | June 2, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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