Out of the Cabinet -- Where Do They Land?
The clamor among Democratic office-holders to be a part of President-elect Barack Obama's Administration is so great that, inevitably, some get left behind.
What does the future hold for the elected officials who -- voluntarily or involuntarily -- don't make the cut for the Cabinet? Here's a look at the biggest names and what the future might hold for them.
Kathleen Sebelius: The governor of Kansas was an early endorser of Obama and was mentioned as a vice presidential pick. The assumption when Obama won was that she would end up in his Cabinet but her surprise decision over the weekend to remove herself from consideration for any opening means that her future is now less clear. Sebelius, a popular two term governor, will be heavily recruited by Democrats to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Sam Brownback (R) in 2010. While she would clearly be the strongest potential candidate for Democrats, she faces some daunting history: no Democrat has been elected to the Senate from Kansas since 1932.
Tim Kaine: Throughout the veepstakes, Kaine allies insisted that while he would love to be vice president he was not looking for a way out of his current job as the governor of Virginia -- a gig, they argued, he loves. With Kaine seemingly set on serving out his term through 2009, he faces a number of electoral roadblocks. He is barred from seeking a second (consecutive) gubernatorial term (Virginia is the only state in the country with a one-term limit) and his path to the Senate is blocked by two Democrats -- Mark Warner and Jim Webb -- ensconced in those seats. Kaine could wait for an appointment in the second round of Obama Cabinet picks (maybe as the second attorney general although Gov. Janet Napolitano might have something to say about that) or hope that either Webb, up for reelection in 2012, or Warner, up in 2014, decide to step away from their seats. Still, that's a long time to wait.
John Kerry: It's no secret that Kerry, the party's 2004 presidential nominee, would have liked to be secretary of State. With that post going to Hillary Rodham Clinton, however, it appears that Kerry will spend the rest of his political life in the Senate. Those familiar with his thinking insist Kerry is perfectly happy in the Senate particularly given that he will assume the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee at the start of the 111th Congress -- a lifelong dream. (Kerry famously testified before the committee in April 1971.)
Chuck Hagel: The outgoing Nebraska Republican senator was seen as a potential pick as secretary of Defense for Obama given his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq. That job no longer open, expect Hagel to remain in the mix on foreign policy issues -- particularly how to responsibly end the war -- and examine whether or not the Republican party might be ready for a candidate in 2012 who opposed the war in Iraq. Hagel has made no secret of his interest in running for national office and would only be 66 on election day 2012.
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