By Bob Cusack - 11/06/12 10:00 AM EST
There are many political insiders who have a lot riding on Tuesday’s elections, ranging from Ben Bernanke to Nate Silver to Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The election results, of course, will play a huge role in determining the fate of President Obama’s healthcare law and former President George W. Bush’s expiring tax rates. They will also have a tremendous impact on congressional and key administration officials.
The following is The Hill’s list of 10 political insiders who have a lot riding on Election Day.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Mitt Romney has vowed to appoint a new Federal Reserve chairman, which could be Stanford economist John Taylor. If Romney wins, Bernanke would be a lame-duck chairman until his term expires in January 2014 and there would be questions about whether he would serve a president who didn’t want him.
The attorney general is not expected to stay long into a possible second Obama administration term. But his life would be easier if Democrats retain the Senate. The GOP-led House has held Holder in contempt of Congress, and many Republicans in the lower chamber have called for him to resign. Having to testify before House and Senate GOP chairmen would likely cause Holder to depart sooner instead of later.
Bill and Hillary Clinton
Former President Clinton has gone all out for Obama’s reelection bid. He recently said, “I may be the only person in America, but I am far more enthusiastic about President Obama this time than I was four years ago.” There is growing speculation Obama’s secretary of State will mount another White House bid in 2016. Arguably, her path to victory would be easier if Obama wins reelection. And if that happens, would Obama endorse in the 2016 Democratic primary? Vice President Biden has not ruled out running in four years.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)
The National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman is a sure bet to replace retiring Senate GOP Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) if Republicans take back the upper chamber. But if they fall short, there could be a leadership race to become McConnell’s top deputy. In this scenario, Cornyn would still be the favorite because GOP lawmakers are not going to blame him for the gaffes of Senate candidates who might lose on Tuesday.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)
The Foreign Relations Committee chairman is considered a leading contender to replace Secretary of State Clinton if Obama wins. Picking Kerry, however, could alter the makeup of the closely divided Senate. Should Elizabeth Warren defeat Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) on Election Day, Brown could run for Kerry’s spot if the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee leaves Capitol Hill for Foggy Bottom.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)
The ambitious chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee is said to be eyeing a leadership bid in the House. An Obama win would help her cause, though it won’t be a deciding factor for some House Democrats who have had their share of differences with the president. The other complication for Wasserman Schultz is that few, if any, leadership lawmakers are expected to retire anytime soon. There has been speculation that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) might step aside, but Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and James Clyburn (D-S.C.) are likely to serve in Congress for the foreseeable future.
The New York Times election guru, who has been quoted often throughout the 2012 cycle, now says there is an 86 percent chance Obama will win. By Wednesday, Silver will look like a genius or have egg on his face. Meanwhile, Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner is predicting Romney will win 315 electoral votes.
If there is a GOP sweep on Tuesday, Senate Parliamentarian MacDonough will arguably be one of the most powerful people in Washington. The nonpartisan referee of Senate rules will have to make tough calls on what parts of the health law can be eradicated through the arcane budget reconciliation process. Some Republicans have suggested the GOP should get rid of MacDonough, who was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). But in an interview with The Hill earlier this year, McConnell indicated he has no plans to do that if he becomes majority leader in 2013.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas)
If Obama wins, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is expected to return to the House and be granted a waiver to remain Budget Committee chairman. Ryan is also widely viewed as Rep. Dave Camp’s (R-Mich.) successor as Ways and Means Committee chairman in two years. If Ryan were to become vice president, Brady — who has more seniority than Ryan on the influential panel — would become a leading contender to replace Camp. But even if Romney and Ryan lose, Ryan could run for president in 2016. Heading the Ways and Means Committee while running for president might be too much to juggle.