WASHINGTON (CNN) – Judd Gregg made clear Thursday he would rather serve in the Senate than in the Obama administration, but the New Hampshire Republican said he “probably” will not seek a fourth term next year.
“Will I run? Probably not,” Gregg said at a press conference after withdrawing from the Commerce post. Gregg also told the New Hampshire Union-Leader earlier in the day that he does not intend to seek re-election.
If that’s true, it likely comes as good news to New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes, the Democratic congressman who emerged as a frontrunner for the seat after Gregg first decided to take the Commerce job. Hodes announced his intention to run for the Senate seat last week.
But if Gregg has a change of heart and decides to run again in 2010, Hodes has a tougher road ahead. According to an American Research Group poll released in late December, Gregg held a 47-40 lead in a hypothetical match-up with the congressman.
Even before Gregg said Thursday he won’t run again - but after he turned down the president - Hodes made it clear he still wants the seat.
“I will be a candidate for the United State Senate in 2010,” Hodes said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “I look forward to working every day to stand up for New Hampshire as we come together to confront the economic crisis facing our nation.”
Hodes would still need to secure the Democratic nomination, and may face a primary challenge from Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who is mulling her own bid.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A source close to the process says that the idea of removing the census from Commerce and having it “run” out of the White House was taken as a slap in the face by Judd Gregg. “It was like saying they don’t trust you” with such a political issue, says the source.
This source says those who wanted Gregg - including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel - believed that in choosing him, the Obama team would be "taking the opposition’s quarterback off the field.”
“They have to take some of the blame for this," says a Democratic source close to the White House. "They almost humiliated him by taking the census away from him.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Republican aide familiar with Judd Gregg's decision to withdraw from consideration says the New Hampshire senator has been privately consulting with GOP leaders about this move for the “past couple of days” before making final decision today.
And a Republican source close to Gregg says the "census tipped things," adding to increasing "worries about his seat at the table" - that Gregg might be marginalized “basically if on any issue important to Democratic constituencies they are on one side and Judd is on the other, he is muted.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Democratic source close to the Obama White House said Thursday that Judd Gregg "campaigned for the job" - that the New Hampshire senator had asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to approach the president about the Commerce post.
Gregg "sat with [Obama], said he wanted the job, knew his policies and erratically dropped out without warning," said the source, minutes after the Republican senator announced his withdrawal from consideration.
UPDATE: A Democratic source confirms to CNN that Harry Reid approached White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel about Gregg for Commerce Secretary.
And White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday Gregg had initiated discussions over the position.
“Senator Gregg reached out to the President and offered his name for Secretary of Commerce. He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President’s agenda," said Gibbs in a statement.
"Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama’s key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways. We regret that he has had a change of heart”.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Barack Obama’s decision to cross party lines and nominate New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg to run the Commerce Department has set off a partisan battle over the 2010 census.
African-American and Latino leaders are concerned that the Census Bureau, which is part of the Commerce Department, might lack sufficient resources under Gregg’s leadership to accurately count ethnic minorities.
And in response to statements from the White House that it will work closely with the bureau’s next director, some House Republicans are suggesting that the Obama administration could manipulate the 2010 tally to achieve a longer-term political advantage for Democrats because congressional redistricting depends on census results.
The Census has been the topic of political debate in the past. Many experts believed that the door-to-door approach used in the 1990 Census count missed 1 to 2 percent of the total U.S. population, with many of those uncounted Americans thought to be minorities who lived in urban areas. To address that concern, Census officials proposed using some basic statistical techniques to fill in the gaps. Democrats tended to favor this approach, which were expected to increase the population count in areas of Democratic strength; Republicans tended to oppose the new techniques for similar reasons. The controversy even reached the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1990s.
Gregg, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of the subcommittee that oversees the Commerce Department, cast a vote in 1995 to abolish the entire department, and in 1999 opposed emergency funding for the 2000 census.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes, a Democrat, will announce in the coming week that he plans to seek Judd Gregg’s vacated Senate seat in 2010, according to a source close to the congressman.
Gregg was appointed by President Obama to head the Commerce Department on Tuesday. New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is likely to appoint Republican Bonnie Newman to fill out the remainder of Gregg’s term, setting the table for an open-seat contest in 2010.
Hodes, an attorney from New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district, has been on Capitol Hill for just two years. He was first elected in 2006, after unseating Republican Charlie Bass.
He released a statement Tuesday cheering Obama’s selection of Gregg to head Commerce.
“President Obama promised to turn the page and enter a new post partisan era,” said Hodes. “His appointment today of Senator Gregg shows his commitment to that goal. Senator Gregg has a long history of service to New Hampshire and the appointment today is good news for the State of New Hampshire as we now can expect to have a strong advocate for our state in the cabinet.”
UPDATE: A Democratic source told CNN that New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is also considering a run for Gregg's seat, but has not made a decision. She is, however, "keeping the door open."
In a statement, Shea-Porter said she is focused on her current job in the House of Representatives.
"It is still very early and I am focused on my work for New Hampshire and the country," she said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama nominated New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg to head the Commerce Department Tuesday.
If confirmed, Gregg will be the third Republican to join Obama's cabinet, following Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Obama first nominated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be commerce secretary. But Richardson withdrew in early January, citing the distraction of a federal investigation into ties to a company that has done business with his state.
UPDATE: Late Monday, political sources in New Hampshire confirmed to CNN's John King that Lynch will name Bonnie Newman, former chief of staff to Gregg, to fill out his term in the Senate. Sources from both parties confirmed the move.
(CNN) – It looks like Democrats may not reach 60 votes in the Senate after all.
In a statement released Monday, New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor John Lynch all but promised to replace Republican Judd Gregg with another Republican in the very likely event that President Obama names the New Hampshire senator to lead the Commerce Department.
“I have had conversations with Senator Gregg, the White House and U.S. Senate leadership,” Lynch said in the statement published on his official Web site. “Senator Gregg has said he would not resign his seat in the U.S. Senate if it changed the balance in the Senate. Based on my discussions, it is clear the White House and Senate leadership understand this as well.
“It is important that President Obama be able to select the advisors he feels are necessary to help him address the challenges facing our nation,” Lynch also said Monday.
In recent days, Gregg has risen to the top of the list of likely picks for Commerce Secretary, a cabinet post that has remained open since New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew himself from consideration.
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.