Obama appointments: Rumor and speculation
Here's the latest buzz: Maryland AG Doug Gansler could be in line for a plumb job in Barack Obama's justice department. Gansler was one of three AGs to endorse the president-elect during the primary, he's the national chairman of the Democratic AGs association and, as a bonus, he's Jewish, a key Democratic constituency, parts of which were slow to warm to Obama. And the MoCo Democrat knows Washington (he was a federal prosecutor there before becoming the Montgomery County State's Attorney, and his father was an under-secretary of defense).
That said, it would probably take a pretty good job to pry him away from state-wide elected office; he's seen as a likely candidate for governor when Martin O'Malley is done, and he seems to have settled into his current job smoothly.
But if he did go to Washington, the dominoes could get interesting. The governor gets to appoint an attorney general to fill the vacancy, and there are a few intriguing options. O'Malley could go with Tom Perez, his labor secretary who ran for the office before a court decision found him ineligible at the time. (He hadn't been admitted to the bar in Maryland for long enough, but he should have met the qualifications by now.) But Perez, who worked for the Clinton administration in various capacities, could have a ticket to Washington of his own. There are other good possibilities out there -- PG State's Attorney Glenn Ivey comes to mind -- but the early bets seem to favor term-limited Baltimore County Exec. Jim Smith.
Smith is a former judge and big-time O'Malley supporter who gets a lot of credit for the governor's 2006 victory over incumbent Bob Ehrlich. He's been talked up as a possible opponent to Comptroller Peter Franchot in the 2010 Democratic primary, but the AG's job might suit him better -- not only would it bring him back into the legal community but it also wouldn't involve commuting to Annapolis every day. (The AG's office is in Baltimore.)
That would, of course, create an opening for his job, which would be filled by someone selected by the County Council, the members of which have been muttering about running for executive for years now without any of them actually doing anything about it.