Napolitano reported as Obama pick for Homeland Security chief
PHOENIX -- Gov. Janet Napolitano is going to be named the new Secretary of Homeland Security, CNN reported late Wednesday, just hours after the governor herself insisted she is "not campaigning or seeking a job' in the Obama administration.
The network, quoting multiple Democratic sources close to the president-elect's transition, also say former Sen. Tom Daschle has been picked to head the Department of Health and Human services.
If Napolitano goes to Washington, that would make Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer the governor for the balance of Napolitano's four-year term which runs through the end of 2010.
And Brewer already has told Capitol Media Services that things would be very different if she were in charge.
"I'm certainly not a tax-and-spend elected official,' she said.
The CNN report comes just hours after Napolitano expressed annoyance at questions about Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell who specifically disavowed any interest in stepping down during the middle of his term. Rendell said through an aide that such a move would elevate a Republican to the state's chief executive, putting the state in the hands of those "who have diametrically opposed philosophic views on the role of government.'
"Look, let me just say it and get this out of the way: I believe it for the president-elect to make his Cabinet appointments in the way he sees fit,' Napolitano said Wednesday.
"It is his prerogative,' Napolitano continued. "I am not campaigning or seeking a job. I like the job I have right now.'
But Napolitano stopped short of saying that she would stay in Arizona through 2010 even if offered a position in Obama's Cabinet.
"That's as much as I'm saying right now,' she said.
Gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer declined to comment late Wednesday, saying there has been no formal announcement from Obama.
The governor was equally non-committal earlier Wednesday when asked if she intends to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010. That's when the term of incumbent John McCain is up. And Napolitano cannot constitutionally seek a third term as governor.
"I'm not campaigning for any new job,' she said.
Since losing the presidential bid, McCain has reactivated his political action committee which allows him to raise funds. But he has stopped short of publicly declaring he wants a fifth term in the Senate.
The Washington Post, however, is reporting that McCain told senior advisers the 72-year-old senator does intend to seek re-election.
A statewide survey last year showed that if the Senate election were held at that time, the Republican incumbent would be defeated by Napolitano by a 47-36 margin, with the balance still undecided.
Not surprisingly, the poll by the Behavior Research Center shows Napolitano the favorite of 78 percent of Democrats, against 11 percent for McCain. But the governor also would pick up 20 percent of Republicans -- and 47 percent of independents who make up nearly 28 percent of registered voters.