Of course, with George LeMieux wandering off the reservation here of late, the scenerio spelled out may be of use even with a Rubio win.
Speaking of moot points, if you were to put any stock in the polls, this race now belongs to Marco Rubio – if he can keep his nose clean for the next 38 days.
Will Obama Use Florida Law to Push Defeated Agenda?
An ambiguously worded state statute could put Florida in the middle of another national controversy this fall.
Depending on how the law is read and interpreted, the successor to interim U.S. Sen. George LeMieux could take office as early as election night on Nov. 2.
If Republican Marco Rubio wins the Senate contest, the effect is virtually moot, since the seat won’t change partisan hands.
But if Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek or independent Gov. Charlie Crist were to win, Democrats could seek to remove LeMieux immediately, citing Florida Statute 100.161, which reads:
“Should a vacancy happen in the representation of this state in the Senate of the United States, the Governor shall issue a writ of election to fill such vacancy at the next general election; and the Governor may make a temporary appointment until the vacancy is filled by election.”
The last three words — “filled by election” — are crucial. They could, some legal experts say, mean that the turnover is immediate and would not wait until the designated swearing-in date of Jan. 3, 2011, first day of the 112th Congress.
Lance DeHaven Smith, a professor of public administration at Florida State University, says the situation could be comparable to a special election.
“If there was a special election in November, you wouldn’t wait until January to fill the seat,” he says.
Others — including the Florida secretary of state’s office, as well as LeMieux and Crist themselves — maintain that the turnover will occur in January.
But, if Crist or Meek emerge victorious on Nov. 2, it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that those interpretations will change in an instant.
That’s because the balance of power in the U.S. Senate hangs like a dangling chad.
Democrats currently hold 59 seats in the upper chamber. With a 60th senator on their side, the party would have a filibuster-proof majority. Either Meek or Crist, who hasn’t ruled out caucusing with the Democrats, could provide that crucial 60th vote during the post-election, lame-duck session of Congress.
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