WASHINGTON (CNN) –Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire is the leading candidate to become commerce secretary and a decision could come as soon as Monday, an Obama administration official told CNN Saturday.
Gregg said in a statement Friday that he was among those being considered for the post, but White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that "a final decision had not been made."
"I know that's something that he [President Obama] hopes to make a decision on and announce shortly. But until the President tells me to make a personnel announcement from this podium, I'll refrain from getting into individual names on that," Gibbs said at Friday's press briefing.
The administration official Saturday spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss administration deliberations.
The nomination of Gregg to be commerce secretary could result in a victory for Democrats in the Senate. If New Hampshire's governor, a Democrat, were to appoint a Democrat to replace Gregg in the Senate, that could give Senate Democrats the 60-seat majority needed to overcome Republican attempts to use filibusters to block legislation.
However, two New Hampshire Republican Party sources have suggested to CNN that Gov. John Lynch is careful to appeal to Republicans and might be open to appointing a Republican to "follow the will of the people," according to one of the sources.
President Barack Obama first nominated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be commerce secretary. But earlier this month Richardson withdrew, citing the distraction of a federal investigation into ties to a company that has done business with his state.
Richardson told reporters he underestimated how long the investigation would take, calling it an "untenable delay" likely to hinder the confirmation process.
Gregg, a third-term senator known for being fiscally conservative, is up for re-election in 2010.
(Updated Saturday afternoon with additional information)
Where is Chuck Hagel? What happened to him?
Wise man. I guess he has seen the handwriting on the wall. The GOP is in the dog house. Good for him for wanting more than a bone.
Please don't abandon the Conservative movement. You will be a complete idiot if you decide to take this post, Senator Judd. It is a win for Socialism and loss for Conservativism and Capitalism.
You will likely lose your seat, next election.
Wait, wasn't he obligated to find another non-white when Richardson dropped out? This is definitely a "step backward."
The struggle against institutional racism is never over, I guess.
A Republican as Commerce Secretary? Wasn't the Republicans who got us into this mess?
Yes, please appoint Judd Gregg.
And to the Governor of New Hampshire, appoint a Dem.
I wonder if President Obama would chose a Republican Senator, from a state with a Democrat for governor, in order that the NH governor could fill Sen Judd's vacant seat with a Democrat? Wonder, wonder, wonder?
Judd would bring a republican strong view of trade and global free market into the administration.
I hope that a centrist democrat is picked to replace him if Judd decides to take the job.
Total disaster. If Gregg had any principles, he would tell Obama thanks but you are on your own.
I like Mr. Gibb's response. There are many times when the President's response to the press should be ....
"That's none of your business".
... and this is one of those times.
Mr. Obama, handle our country's affairs with some air of confidentiallilty. When the time is right, you'll share the salient points with the public.
Meanwhile, over 100,000 have lost their jobs on the Messiah's watch, and the Dow had another down week. If Obama continues at this rate, he is destined to become a one-term failure.
Caroline Kennedy is already packing her bags and moving to New Hampshire.
This is strictly a political move by Obama's boys to try and cinch up the filibuster stopper so they can finish the demise of the Republic and turn on the Socialistic spigot of revenue sharing. If Gregg takes the non-job, he'll have been a big part of the whole national disaster.
DON'T TAKE THE SEAT. IF FRANKEN WINS HIS SEAT, WE WILL NOT, I REPEAT NOT HAVE A FILIBUSTER PROOF MINORITY IN THE SENATE, as his replacement will be chosen by a Democratic Governor.
So what is it with so called officials saying "official" things unofficially?
Are these the guys/gals who are not getting attention by doing useful things?
Obvious attempt to put another Democrat in the Senate is obvious.
"The administration official Saturday spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss administration deliberations."
So doing it anonymously is ok?
How about appointing an independent? But then they usually caucus with one party or the other so I guess that doesn't really matter huh?
what are his qualifications?
if he's a tax cheat, he's OK.
I think Gregg knows his days in elected office are numbered – the R's are loosing big time in New England. The Gov better appoint a Democrat though – I don't want to miss Limbaugh popping a vein in his neck.
why a republican?
Ed, why not a Repulican? With the economy in shambles, a fiscal conservative (Democrat or Republican) is a smart choice for Commerce Secretary.