- Eric Holder announces he is stepping down
- He will stay on until his successor is confirmed by the Senate
- But it's possible Republicans could take control of the Senate in November
- The White House says the midterms won't affect the nominating process
With control of the Senate at stake this November, one question is whether the midterm elections will drive the timing of the nominating process for Eric Holder's replacement.
The attorney general announced Thursday he will resign "in the months ahead," but will stay on until his successor is confirmed.
One theory is that the White House and Senate Democrats will act fast so they can make their pick while Democrats are still in control of the Senate. If Republicans take the majority, which is possible, the process could be dragged on.
A White House official dismissed the notion that the midterm elections are a factor. While the White House wants the position filled as soon as possible, the official said if it takes longer to find the right person, so be it.
Some races may even be too close to call on Election Night and could takes weeks to decide, the official noted.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, cautioned the White House not to be too quick with the nominating process.
"It will take someone who has the right qualifications and experience to fill the job," the Iowa Republican said in a written statement. "Rather than rush a nominee through the Senate in a lame duck session, I hope the President will now take his time to nominate a qualified individual who can start fresh relationships with Congress so that we can solve the problems facing our country."
It goes without saying that in Washington, where partisan gridlock holds up a number of nominations, the selection process for the next attorney general could take a while, no matter who the President chooses.
"We fully recognize that," the White House official said.