Rick Snyder Picks a Democrat
By Josh Goodman, Staff Writer
Georgia Governor-elect Nathan Deal has picked longtime aide Chris Riley as his chief of staff, a move the Atlanta-Journal Constitution describes as controversial. Deal, a former congressman, won the governor's race despite being dogged by questions about his personal finances and his adherence to U.S. House ethics rules. Riley also served as Deal's chief of staff on Capitol Hill, where he played a key role in the congressman's personal and political dealings. According to the Journal-Constitution , Riley described the relationship like this: "Is he one of my best friends? Yes. Would he be a pallbearer at my funeral if I died today? Yes. But he's my boss."
Earl Ray Tomblin won't be doing double-duty, the Associated Press reports . As West Virginia 's Senate president, Tomblin is in line to be his state's next governor with the election of Joe Manchin to the U.S. Senate (In West Virginia, the Senate president also serves as lieutenant governor). Tomblin announced that while he would seek the state Senate's support for another term as president, he won't engage in any legislative activities as long as he is governor. It remains unclear whether that will be until the state's next regularly scheduled gubernatorial election in 2012 or whether lawmakers will opt to hold a special election.
Republicans in New Hampshire have the power to overturn the state's gay marriage law, but whether they have the will do so remains an open question. The G.O.P. won veto-proof majorities in both houses of the Legislature on Tuesday, meaning the party will be able to thwart the will of Democratic Governor John Lynch — if it can stay united. Lynch signed the gay marriage law last year, which won strong backing from Democrats in the Legislature. While that might make the law look like a ripe target for a legislative reversal, John DiStaso of the New Hampshire Union-Leader reports that Republican legislators are inclined to focus on fiscal issues, at least at first. If it does act, New Hampshire would be the first state to reverse a gay marriage law legislatively.
Nikki Haley , South Carolina's governor-elect, has named David Wilkins , a former speaker of the South Carolina House, to lead her transition team. Despite being a legislator herself, Haley hasn't enjoyed warm relations with some of her fellow Republicans in the Legislature thanks to her close ties to outgoing governor Mark Sanford. The pick of Wilkins may help Haley win allies among Republican legislators, the Post and Courier reports .