The CMS board is technically a non-partisan body. But Democrats have held a majority and the chairmanship for numerous years. The board currently has two vacancies left open by two Democrats who represented predominantly African American and Democratic districts. Now, there are three Republicans, three Democrats and one unaffiliated member, Trent Merchant. Merchant wants to be chairman. Critics have said he's willing to side with Republicans on their choice to fill the third district seat, which would mean that newly filled position could then help pick another Republican to fill the remaining open seat. Merchant calls this thinking "invented." He says, "I'm one vote. It doesn't really matter who I want. My choices have been reduced from 17 applicants to two possibilities. And that's just the reality of it. so I think the idea that I'm somehow king-maker is maybe misinformed." Merchant says he's looking for the best person to fill the seat, regardless of their race or party affiliation.