by Max Brantley
We've already speculated the lieutenant governor's office wouldn't be filled by special election on account of so little time remaining in the term, and other complications.
As sensible as this might be, there's something of a statutory imperative (though without time limits) that the governor declare a vacancy and put an election process in motion, even if it couldn't be completed until weeks before the end of the current term. The thinking on this argument is that statutes should be given meaning and the failure to act would be a bad precedent for future vacancies. How long a vacancy should be required before it should be filled?
Roby Brock's Talk Business offers today a third scenario we hadn't considered. It's interesting. We note he's currently posting an interview, too, with Richard Bearden, the former state Republican leader who had been working in Win Rockefeller's gubernatorial campaign. Perhaps he's the source for this idea. (UPDATE: Just got a message that Bearden says this sprung from Roby's head, not his. Another member of the Rockefeller camp also tells me he'd not heard of the idea.)
How will it play out? There is rampant speculation that Huckabee, who controls the timing of all of this, may drag his feet and do his best to let the seat remain vacant until the November election determines a new Lt. Governor. If the Democratic party lets him, Huckabee could probably finagle this, but it would set a precedent for the future.
Another scenario proposes that to honor the bipartisan legacy of Win Rockefeller, both parties agree to ask his wife or his oldest son to serve in the post for the remainder of his term and let that Rockefeller be both parties’ nominee.
An announcement from Huckabee as to what he may do could come as early as today.
One small glitch in this scenario is that the two parties couldn't prevent an independent candidate from trying to round up signatures to run, though, practically speaking, this would be difficult.