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McConnell Wants the Law Changed to Ensure He's Replaced by a Republican If He Leaves the Senate Early

McConnell Wants the Law Changed to Ensure He's Replaced by a Republican If He Leaves the Senate Early
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

With 36 years under his belt, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is one of the longest-serving Senators in American history.

Having just won reelection in 2020, he's guaranteed another six years in office, but at 78 years old, McConnell's retirement or otherwise premature exit is far from out of the question.


When a vacancy opens in the Senate, it's up to the Governor of that Senator's state to appoint a replacement who will serve until the next election.

Though both of Kentucky's Senators are Republicans, its Governor—Andy Beshear—is a Democrat with years left in his term.

Republican Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers is looking to limit the Beshear's power over the appointment of departing U.S. Senators with a bill he introduced to the Kentucky State Senate last week.

Senate Bill 228 would amend the policy for appointing interim Senators to limit the governor's choice to three candidates offered by the departing Senator—a move that would let McConnell ensure he'd be replaced by a Republican if he left the Senate before the next election cycle.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, McConnell is a proponent of S.B. 228, Meghan Roos of Newsweek reports.

McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer told the press:

"Leader McConnell has discussed the legislation with President Stivers and is fully supportive of the measure."

Meanwhile, Beshear warned that the legislation would threaten government effectiveness:

"I believe that we've got to believe in the institution of government, of the separation of powers, more than we believe in our party. Whether or not we change the way that a vacancy is filled shouldn't be decided based on who's currently in the office. Once that happens, we start breaking the very institutions that keep us moving forward, even with changing partisanship over the years."

McConnell served as Senate Majority Leader from 2015 until January of this year—a tenure defined by his constant refusal to entertain legislation passed by a Democratic House or Supreme Court nominees offered by Democratic Presidents. Then-Senate Majority Leader McConnell became known as the "Grim Reaper" to the public for his willingness to let Democratic bills die on his desk. It was a nickname he embraced.

McConnell's support for the legislation is par for the course of his nearly 40 years in office.






The development has some wondering if McConnell expects his time in the Senate to end before 2027.



According to a recent poll, 53 percent of Republicans disapprove of McConnell's performance in the Senate.

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