Story highlights

White House says nomination process will start after midterms

Senate Dems urged White House to wait

Process to replace him will be rancorous, many say

Washington CNN  — 

The sure-to-be politically fraught nomination process for Eric Holder’s replacement as attorney general will come after next month’s midterm elections, the White House said on Tuesday.

An official, speaking anonymously about the nomination process, said Senate Democrats urged the White House to wait until after November’s contests to put a nominee forward to head the Justice Department. Democrats are urgently working to maintain control of the Senate, and are expected to lose seats in the Republican-controlled House.

Holder, the last of President Barack Obama’s original cabinet members, was a politically divisive attorney general, and the fight to replace him is expected to be rancorous on Capitol Hill.

A nominee could be pushed through a lame duck session after the midterm elections, though other issues on the congressional docket – like authorizing Obama’s use of force in against ISIS – are expected to dominate proceedings in November and December.

“I do anticipate that Democrats will hold the Senate,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters after Holder resigned. “That said, I also anticipate that whoever the nominee is will earn and ultimately receive bipartisan support.”

Democrats close to the nominating process have floated several names as potential Holder replacements: the current Labor Secretary Tom Perez, the former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler are all considered in the mix.

Others include U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and former Justice Department official Tony West.

CNN White House Producer Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.