Rumor has it that Sen. Orrin Hatch has his eyes on the vacant Attorney General slot. Hatch would make short-term political sense. He’s veteran Senator who has built up good will among his colleagues. Typically when Senators are nominated to fill administration positions, their body will give them deference and confirm them.
Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman would pick the successor from a list of three people presented by the state GOP’s central committee, the same system as Wyoming used to replace Sen. Thomas earlier this year. He would serve until a special election was held, which would likely be next November. While the replacement would certainly be heavily favored, it is possible that Rep. Jim Matheson, a conservative Democrat, would consider this the best opportunity he will ever have to make the jump to the Senate. If so, our nominee would be heavily favored, but it wouldn’t quite be a slam dunk.