Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is 79. Still, he’s not ready to retire just yet.
McConnell backed a bill in the Kentucky legislature mandating that the governor must appoint someone from the same party to fill a vacancy in Congress, Fox News reported. This led to speculation that he was on his way out, but McConnell just confirmed that he’s “not going anywhere.”
“I don’t think we’re going to have a vacancy. I’m not going anywhere,” McConnell reportedly said at a news conference. “I just got elected to a six-year term and I’m still the leader of my party in the Senate, so this is a hypothetical. But I have watched this over the years in the Senate as various vacancies were filled and I thought this was the best way to go.”
The bill had passed the state legislature months before McConnell won his reelection bid. Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed the bill citing concerns that it gave Kentucky’s political parties too much control over the process. The Republican-controlled legislature was able to overturn his veto, however.
McConnell said the legislation would ensure the government was doing the will of the people when appointing a temporary replacement. He said if “such a vacancy were to occur, to have the people, as quickly as possible, elect a new senator and in the interim, honor the results of the last election for that particular individual.”
The new law would also require the governor to appoint one of three candidates chosen by leaders from the political party that currently held the seat. McConnell said he would support that measure regardless of which party was in charge.
The rumors about McConnell’s retirement no doubt stem from his advanced age. Although he’s nearly 80, he’s on par with some of the other heavy hitters in Washington, D.C. America just elected the 78-year-old Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 81 years old, according to the Washington Post.
Regardless of what McConnell decides in the next six years, the bill is a commonsense approach to filling a vacant senate seat. After all, the people elected not just a candidate, but also a candidate of a particular party.