Sen. Pete Wilson is feeling the heat.
If he wins the California gubernatorial race next month, one of hisfirst duties will be to appoint a Senate successor.
Wilson, a Republican, is not saying whom he has in mind, only that he'll look for someone who shares his political views.
"When the necessity arises I will share it in detail," Wilson said.
Sherri Bebitch Jeffe, senior associate at the Center for Politics and Policy at Claremont Graduate School, says the issue puts Wilson in a no-win situation.
"He makes one friend and innumerable enemies," she said about Wilson's dilemma if he makes a choice before the election.
Wilson and Democrat Dianne Feinstein are locked in a neck-and-neck race for the state's top job. A recent poll showed Wilson with a narrow lead of 47 percent to 42 percent for Feinstein.
Speculation on the short list of possible successors includes moderate former Rep. Ed Zschau, the GOP nominee who was narrowly defeated by incumbent Democrat Alan Cranston in a race for California's other U.S. Senate seat in 1986.
Another is conservative television commentator Bruce Herschensohn, who also ran for the Senate in 1986.
Palm Springs Mayor Sonny Bono, the shorter half of the former singing duo Sonny and Cher, is one of those who has expressed an interest in Wilson's Senate seat.
Wilson is also fighting criticism that he's missing votes in Washington.
"In the Senate, there are no golden parachutes," says Feinstein, the former mayor of San Francisco. "I don't know of any other Californian who can take two months off to look for another job."
Like the successor issue, Wilson's attendance record places him in an uncomfortable political position: If he stays in California, he gets accused of absenteeism; if he goes to Washington, he could get tied to the budget mess.
It's not uncommon for a member of the Senate to vote 99 percent to 100 percent of the time. Wilson's attendance record was 92 percent in 1989. In the fall term, Wilson missed votes on the David Souter Supreme Court nomination, Middle East resolutions and the budget.