The Napolitano Future

There’s some interest in what becoming Homeland Security Secretary would mean for Janet Napolitano’s prospects as a Senate candidate. I would imagine that it will only mean good things. Nothing about running DHS prevents her from running for Senate in 2010 or, indeed, from running against John Kyl in 2012. Indeed, being at DHS is probably better to set up a 2012 run, and given that John McCain says he’s not retiring, that’s her better shot.

But beyond all that, note that she’s getting out as governor of Arizona while the going is still good. Being a governor of any state in 2009 is going to be ugly. It’s going to be all about cutting spending and raising taxes, while dealing with increased demand for public assistance and in all likelihood rising crime rates. Arizona was a major real estate bubble state, so it’s going to be especially unfun. It’s also a state that’s been in some respects benefiting economically from the war in Iraq, making things even worse. She’s very popular right now, though, and if she gets out and manages to bring about some improvements at DHS she’ll stay popular.