Stateline Story

Democratic Governors May Join Obama Team

On the same day that President Obama met in Washington with the nation's new governors earlier this month, he also met privately in the Oval Office with Ohio's outgoing leader, Democrat Ted Strickland.

The special treatment for Strickland — the leader of a large, politically crucial state — originally was interpreted as a way for the president to thank the governor personally for his help on the presidential campaign trail two years ago. But many observers also took the meeting as a hint that Strickland could be joining the Obama team when his tenure in Ohio ends in January.

It's a familiar speculation game that is reaching a fever pitch in several states these days. Besides Strickland, two other Democratic Great Lakes governors — Michigan's Jennifer Granholm and Wisconsin's Jim Doyle — have been bandied about as possible additions to the Obama administration in the new year. (Granholm was term-limited this year, while Doyle chose not to run for reelection.)

Granholm, in particular, fed the speculation last week when she told reporters that she has a "good idea" of what her next job will be, and that she will make an announcement in January, according to mlive.com . The rumor that Granholm is looking toward Washington was fueled further by a national op-ed she wrote on job creation for The Huffington Post.

Meanwhile, Politico reported today (December 15) that Obama plans to shake up his administration in January, and that Doyle, Granholm and Strickland are all in the mix for jobs. The problem, however, is finding suitable positions for politicians with such long resumes.  Governors of their standing "aren't likely to accept — or be offered — sub-Cabinet-level slots," Politico said.