Business Roundtable Executive Director Larry Burton, who has run the trade association on an interim basis since Castellani’s departure this summer, may well become his permanent replacement. While perhaps lacking the bold-faced splash of a former Member, Burton, a Republican, has solid downtown credentials, including numerous lobbying jobs in Washington and abroad for BP.
Burton was also a Hill staffer for Alaska Republicans Rep. Don Young and former Sen. Ted Stevens, who died in a plane crash earlier this year.
Retiring Blue Dog Reps. John Tanner and Bart Gordon, both Tennessee Democrats, are also considered possible candidates for the position. Tanner, who served 11 terms, sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, while the 13-term Gordon is chairman of the Science and Technology Committee and sits on the Energy and Commerce panel.
Gordon’s and Tanner’s offices did not respond to a request for comment.
Since Castellani’s departure, many K Street handicappers considered American Chemistry Council President and CEO Cal Dooley a top contender for the Business Roundtable position. But on Friday, the former seven-term Member from California and New Democrat Coalition co-founder all but eliminated the possibility.
A Dooley staffer said her boss is not leaving his post at the trade association, which represents petrochemical firms such as BASF, Exxon Mobil Corp., Dow and DuPont Co. Since leaving the House in 2004, Dooley also ran both the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Food Products Association.
“Mr. Dooley is very happy at the American Chemistry Council and is not interested in making a change,” spokeswoman Anne Kolton said Friday.
Correction: Nov. 26, 2010
Sen. Judd Gregg was incorrectly identified as Obama's first choice for Commerce secretary. He was the second choice after Bill Richardson dropped out before Obama's inauguration.