Bob Dole's announcement that he would quit the Senate struck with the force of a spring tornado. Then came talk of his successor.
The Senate majority leader's decision to resign to concentrate on his run for the White House unleashed a torrent of speculation: Who will replace him, and who will run for Kansas' two open Senate seats this year?Dole is still several weeks away from stepping down or shedding his Senate seat. The other is being vacated by Republican Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, who declared last fall she would not seek election to a fourth six-year term.
The list of potential replacements for Dole is long. Aides to Republican Gov. Bill Graves have hinted he may already have a short list. Graves hasn't tipped his hand, saying only that he will be talking to people over the next several days and "it'll be my decision alone."
The governor must decide who will fill Dole's seat for the next five months. The November general election will determine if that person gets to keep the seat until January 1999, when Dole's term expires.
It will be the first time since Kansas gained statehood in 1861 that voters will get the chance to fill both U.S. Senate seats in the same general election.
Among the names that have cropped up as potential appointees were Lt. Gov. Sheila Frahm, who decided last December not to run for Kassebaum's seat; and attorney Kim Wells, a longtime Dole confidant and former state Republican chairman.
Democrats also have a list of potential Senate candidates. It includes U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman; former U.S. Rep. Jim Slattery, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor in 1994; state Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius, the daughter of former Ohio Gov. John Gilligan; and former Gov. Joan Finney, a 71-year-old populist who decided against seeking a second term in 1994.