Several Republicans on the Sunday shows made it clear that Judd Gregg would not leave the Senate for the Department of Commerce unless he was replaced by a Republican. Here's a representative sample:
No change in the Senate's balance of power if New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg leaves to become commerce secretary.
That's the word from the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell. He says Gregg has assured fellow GOP senators of that.
McConnell says Gregg has promised he would be replaced by someone who would affiliate with other Republicans in the Senate.
This could just be bluster. In fact, Ben Smith reports that the White House is trying to get a guarantee from New Hampshire Governor John Lynch that he'll appoint a Democrat. Gregg is in no position to guarantee anything, as it's entirely Lynch's call. Another reason why we should have special elections so that the people decide and not one Governor. It may change the calculus for these appointments, but as they may not be made in the interest of getting the best person for the job ANYWAY, I don't think that's a major loss.
Miss Laura, a New Hampshire native, has more at Daily Kos, and she thinks that Lynch is far more likely to pick a Republican, perhaps one of the co-chairs of "Republicans for Lynch." There's a possibility in that case that the pick is slightly more moderate than Gregg and unlikely to run in 2010, but I don't know if that is enough to recommend Gregg for the job.