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Governor crosses aisle with pick

CONCORD, N.H. — Democratic Gov. John Lynch on Tuesday named Republican Bonnie Newman as his pick for the U.S. Senate, a selection that allows departing GOP Sen. Judd Gregg to become U.S. commerce secretary without handing his old Democratic colleagues a filibuster-proof majority.

Lynch said the businesswoman and former government official has agreed to serve only the remaining two years of Gregg's six-year Senate term. Gregg's departure is expected to make the seat more competitive next year for Democrats. The appointment will not become official until Gregg is confirmed for the commerce job.

Newman, 63, was Gregg's chief of staff in the 1980s, oversaw administrative operations for the White House under President George H.W. Bush and served as interim president of the University of New Hampshire and executive dean at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She has never held elective office.

Newman would become New Hampshire's second female senator in a matter of months. Democrat Jeanne Shaheen beat Republican incumbent John E. Sununu in November to become the first woman from the state to hold a Senate seat.

Minn. Senate: The judges in Minnesota's Senate election trial threw Republican Norm Coleman a lifeline on Tuesday, opening the door to adding nearly 5,000 rejected absentee ballots to a race that Democrat Al Franken leads by just 225 votes. It wasn't a total victory for Coleman, who had wanted the judges to look at about 11,000 such ballots.

Sen. Gregg nominated

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., was nominated by President Obama to be secretary of commerce, buttressing one other part of his reputation: a willingness to work across party lines. "This is not a time for partisanship. This is not a time when we should stand in our ideological corners and shout at each other," said Gregg, 61, after Obama announced his nomination at the White House. "This is a time to govern and govern well." If confirmed by the Senate, Gregg would join Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as Republicans in the Cabinet.

Washington Post

Governor crosses aisle with pick 02/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 10:11pm]
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