- No fewer than 11 of the 50 Democrats in the U.S. Senate would be replaced by a Republican governor should they be unable to continue serving in office. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republicans would regain control of the Senate if a single one of those 11 became unable to serve and had their seat filled — even in the short run — with a Republican.
- The subject came up briefly late in January when Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is 80, was briefly hospitalized after not feeling well while presiding over the opening of the Trump impeachment proceedings. That provided a grim reminder that control of the Senate could shift in a blink of an eye. Vermont’s governor is a Republican, Phil Scott.
- The process of filling Senate vacancies is governed by The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1913, which established direct election of senators, as well as a means of filling vacant Senate seats. In 45 states, the governor is empowered to make at least an interim appointment to fill a vacant Senate seat until a special election can take place.
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