Washington – Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Friday he’s honored by speculation he’d be considered to replace retiring Attorney General Eric Holder, “but I’m even more honored to serve as senator for the people of Connecticut.”
Blumenthal’s name has been bandied about as a potential successor to Holder after the U.S. attorney general announced Thursday that he wanted to leave the Obama administration, having served in his high-pressure job for six years.
“I love what I’m doing right now,” Blumenthal said.
He also said he would not speculate on what he would do if he were offered the job.
Blumenthal served for years as Connecticut’s attorney general. He also served as U.S. attorney in Connecticut for four-and-a half years.
W. Neil Eggleston, the new White House counsel, will lead the search for a replacement for Holder with help from senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, but no clear frontrunner has emerged.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., who defended the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court, is among those on a short list, as is California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
The prospect of an administration job, where he could press a consumer rights agenda, may appeal to Blumenthal, especially since he’s a Democrat and his party may lose control of the Senate in the mid-term election. But Blumenthal would also face the prospect of serving only until the end of President Obama’s term in little more than two years.
Blumenthal said Holder has “done the job with distinction and dedication.”
“It’s a tough job that leads to both criticism and applause,” Blumenthal said.
Holder will leave the job with the distinction of being the first sitting Cabinet official to be found in contempt of Congress, a result of Republican anger over “Operation Fast and Furious,” a Justice Department operation that allowed the illegal sale of thousands of guns with the hopes of tracking the weapons as they made their way up the ranks of Mexican drug cartels.
Holder has also been praised for his work on civil rights, including his visit to Ferguson, Mo., that helped end the violence in that town.