PHILADELPHIA — One of the new open questions in politics: If Hillary Clinton gets elected, who will be appointed to fill Tim Kaine’s Senate seat in Virginia?
Congressional Black Caucus members have a candidate in mind: Rep. Bobby Scott.
Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver told BuzzFeed News that the CBC contacted the Clinton campaign a day or two before the vice presidential decision to make sure she understood that the caucus fully backs Scott. “We told the secretary that he had already expressed interest on his own, so that's who we'd like them to consider.” Multiple sources close to Scott confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Scott is open to the idea, and has signaled to the Clinton campaign he'd accept if selected by McAuliffe.
A source familiar with the inner-workings of the CBC said members what will impact Scott’s chances more than anything is his fundraising numbers. “He's brilliant, but not political,” the source said.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Scott said he was "very flattered" that his colleagues in the CBC had pushed his name forward, but that the first priority has to be electing the Clinton-Kaine ticket.
"If we don't do that, there's nothing to speculate about," Scott said shortly after addressing an audience at a criminal justice panel hosted by the 20/20 Club at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. "That needs to be our focus."
Scott said he believed his home state and Pennsylvania were in good shape, and that it bodes well for the ticket nationally, putting "the arithmetic almost out of reach." Scott said he'll deal with the question of his interest in the seat after the election.
"Scott has been a champion for working people and would be a great addition to the Senate," Will Jawando, a former Maryland Congressional candidate who is close to many members said. "He's experienced and frankly, more diversity is needed."
CBC political action committee chair Gregory Meeks is also privately campaigning for Scott, several sources say. Currently, there are only two black senators: Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Tim Scott.
Kaine’s seat is an important one and, if he vacates it, whoever is appointed to fill it would face a challenge: The new senator would serve for about a year, then run in a special election, then run in a traditional election the next year. With control of the Senate at stake, Democrats would be very sensitive to retaining the seat.
Some choices on McAuliffe’s shortlist are said to include Northern Virginia Democrats Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Don Beyer, and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.