The rumor that First Lady Obama will be running for Senate in 2016 is picking up steam. Here is the logical argument for why it could happen.
The Rothenblog makes the logical argument for why Democrats may look to Michelle Obama to take back her husband’s old Senate seat:
But, this winter, the attention will quickly turn to 2016. Illinois will be a key state in attempts made by Democrats to regain or expand their majority, depending on the outcome of this year’s elections. As good as the Senate map is for Republicans this year, the 2016 map is just as bad, or even worse, for the GOP. Sen. Mark S. Kirk of Illinois could be one of seven Republican senators running for re-election in a presidential year in states that President Obama won twice.
The bottom line is that if Democratic strategists believe the first lady is the best candidate to defeat Kirk, they will likely make a push to get her to run.
It may sound ridiculous, considering she would have to run during the last two years of her husband’s administration. But it wouldn’t be unprecedented. That is exactly what Hillary Clinton did as Bill Clinton was finishing his eight years in the White House. And unlike Hillary, Michelle was born and raised in Chicago and wouldn’t have to deal with the carpetbagging charges.
The first lady is very popular, even more popular than her husband. She has the advantage of taking stances on non-controversial issues, such as fighting obesity, rather than wrestling with the concept of exchanging prisoners with a foreign enemy. But she’s probably not the only Democrat who could defeat Kirk in 2016.
So far the First Lady has shown zero interest in being a candidate for office, but she has taken a higher profile fundraising and speaking role on the campaign trail. Michelle Obama has gone from being uncomfortable on the stump and at fundraising dinners to being one of the biggest draws in the Democratic Party.
There is little doubt that she could defeat Sen. Kirk, and an election that featured Hillary Clinton for president and Michelle Obama for Senate would be absolutely electric for Democrats. That being said, President and First Lady Obama can’t seem to wait to get back out of D.C. and back to their lives in Chicago. It is difficult to see the Obama family hanging around for any longer than they have to.
The Obamas aren’t the Clintons. There is a great logical argument to be made for Mrs. Obama running for Senate, but I suspect that 2016 may be too soon for the current First Family to jump back into politics. The relative youth of the both the President and First Lady makes a return to the national political spotlight more than possible, but if the choice was up to them, I suspect that they will be heading back to Chicago as private citizens after the president’s term is finished.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association