President Bush formally nominated California Rep. Christopher Cox (R) to be the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“As a champion of the free enterprise system in Congress, Chris Cox knows that a free economy is built on trust,” Bush said. “He will be an outstanding leader of the SEC.”
The SEC chairmanship came open Wednesday when William Donaldson announced his decision to leave the post he has held since 2003. Cox is the second House Republican tapped by Bush to fill an administration vacancy. Former Ohio Rep. Rob Portman now serves as U.S. trade representative.
Cox’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate, a process that cost him a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001 when home-state Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) fervently opposed him. Whether Boxer would have filibustered the Cox nomination became a moot point when Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords (I) left the Republican Party in May 2001, handing control of the chamber to the Democrats and ending Cox’s hopes of a judgeship.
Should Cox be confirmed there would be a special election to fill his strongly Republican 48th district seat. The decision on when to call the special election rests with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
According to California election law, the special election must be held no sooner than 112 days and no more than 119 days after the governor officially recognizes the vacancy.
On the eighth Tuesday prior to the general election, an all-party primary is held. If no candidate receives better than 50 percent of the vote, the top vote-getter from each party advances to the special general election.
This would be California’s second Congressional special election in 2005. Rep. Doris Matsui (D) won the seat of her late husband in March.