The U.S. Attorney in Raleigh, George Holding, a Bush appointee, reiterated in an interview today that he will stay on the job until someone is installed to replace him. But that time table just became more certain -- a new prosecutor is now likely within 60 to 90 days.
The White House is moving to replace Holding, nominating Charlotte lawyer Thomas Walker for the top prosecutor post in the eastern part of North Carolina.
That news has led to many questions about how the transition will take place as Holding leads probes of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards and former Gov. Mike Easley.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat who recommended Walker for the post, says she thinks Holding should stay on until his probes are complete. State Republicans are urging her to reconsider.
It's not clear what will happen. The White House isn't talking. It is clear, though, that things are moving quickly -- and quicker -- on this post now. The other two U.S. Attorney posts in the state have not had nominees announced. And in all, Holding is now part of the one-third of the roughly 100 federal prosecutors positions across the country to have replacement nominations or confirmations.
For his part, Holding won't even acknowledge the investigations exist. Edwards and Easley both have, though, and last month the state elections board said evidence suggests Easley committed crimes while in office. A state prosecutor is now involved, as a result.
Holding, whose term runs until September, said in the interview he will stay until he is replaced but he did not express alarm at having to go.
"It is the president's choice," Holding said. "The new U.S. Attorney is going to take the same oath that I took. I am confident he will do his best to uphold the oath... I intend to do the best job I can do until such time as I am replaced by the president."
And he said he has not had any conversations with anyone about possibly staying on, as Hagan has suggested. He refused to elaborate.
Walker has said he is honored to be nominated.