Looks like it’s Congressman John McHugh.
Although I get the ‘team of rivals’ philosophy, any time Obama nominates a Republican for a post I find myself looking for the benefits to the Democratic party. Naming Jon Huntsman ambassador to China, for example, takes a potentially credible 2012 GOP contender out of the public eye quite handily. So why McHugh?
Here is John McHugh’s congressional district map:
Not much help there. Most of that is pretty solidly in the redder parts of NY, so a special election would most likely still result in a Republican seat. No guarantees, though – NY-20 squeaked to Murphy in their own special election, and NY-23 is considered a slightly more Dem-leaning district than that.
McHugh’s voting record is somewhat mixed – he consistently voted with the GOP on key issues regarding the “war on terror”, but has broken with them on other issues such as S-CHIP, federal minimum-wage increase and repeal of oil company tax credits. He also takes positions in favor of educational grants and fair trade.
It sounds more as though Obama would be losing a potential ally in Congress than strategically removing an obstructionist. So perhaps he really thinks McHugh is the right man for the job. He certainly has the credentials, having served on the House Armed Forces Committee for a long time now.
Here’s hoping that having a moderate choice in there will do some good.
Also of note is that McHugh apparently has something of a sense of humor; having worked hard to support the Army base at Fort Drum, NY, McHugh took issue when the TV show The West Wing mentioned closing it – and went so far as to co-write a letter (with Hillary Clinton) to the character Josh Lyman to urge him to reconsider his position.