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Guv may sign special election bill

Monday, Dec 15, 2008 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I told subscribers that this was possible late last week. The governor is leaning in favor of a special election

Should he stay in office, Gov. Blagojevich is warming to the idea of holding a special election for President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The governor — facing criminal charges that he put the seat and other state-government decisions up for sale — was optimistic at the start of the weekend that he would sign a bill that would strip him of his power to name Obama’s successor, a Blagojevich source said Sunday.

* Meanwhile, Dick Durbin has flip-flopped

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, for instance, was an early supporter but is now calling for Blagojevich to resign so that the lieutenant governor could appoint a senator.

* Cullerton leans against

“The most immediate solution to the short-term problem is if the governor could step aside, which the constitution allows, and Pat Quinn would become the acting governor and he (Quinn) could appoint the U.S. senator and that would be acceptable to the U.S. Senate,” said Cullerton (D-Chicago), who assumes the leadership of the chamber next month. […]

In his radio interview, Cullerton didn’t directly address what plan he favors, noting only that “with a special election, it’s very complicated because it’s very costly.”

“We need a senator immediately. We need a senator to be there to be voting in the first week of January to support…our incoming president, one of our former colleagues,” Cullerton said.

* House GOP Leader Tom Cross appears to be leaning towards the “hybrid” plan discussed yesterday by LG Pat Quinn. A temporary appointment followed by a special election…

A spokesman for House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), who expects to meet with Madigan possibly today, endorsed the package that was making the rounds.

“We feel the best way to restore any confidence the citizens of Illinois have in their government overall and in particular who the United States senator will be is to have a special election. The very preliminary language we’ve seen seems to accomplish that task,” Cross spokesman David Dring said.

* Jim Edgar is against the special election…

Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar says the last thing the state needs right now is another partisan political battle.

EDGAR: I would much rather see that some, I don’t…blue ribbon committee or something come together and try to come up with a name of someone maybe who just would serve two years even and try to take this out of the political realm quickly.

* But the IL GOP is full steam ahead

Illinois Republican Party leaders are launching a television campaign to push their position that a special election should be called to fill the vacancy caused by President-elect Barack Obama’s depature, a move to prevent a Senate appointment by scandal-scarred Gov. Rod Blagojevich or Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn if he takes over the top job.

With Blagojevich hanging onto office despite last week’s arrest in a corruption case, Republicans are seek to seiz the political advantage of a reeling state government headed by Democrats at every level.

“Blagojevich Democrats like Pat Quinn did nothing to stand up to Governor Blagojevich and his ethical lapses,” said Joe Birkett, the DuPage County state’s attorney.

Birkett questioned why “Pat Quinn stood silent” when they ran together in 2006, when it was known that Blagojevich was the “eye of the storm”

* Related…

* Black leaders see Senate seat being hijacked

* GOP sees hope for revival amid scandal

* Quinn a good man, but voters should pick senator


  1. - Captain Flume - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 8:53 am:

    What amendatory veto would be attached to a special elections bill signing?

  2. - Sporty41 - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 8:59 am:

    Simply amazing how quickly the entire Democrat Leadership can change from Special Election to Let Quinn appoint the seat.

    When a scandal such as this shakes the core of foundations of government in this state. The power should be returned to the people to make informed decisions, not the people who are apart of the problem.

    We need a special election.

  3. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:07 am:

    The Dems really must be worried about losing a special election.

  4. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:14 am:

    Durbin and Quinn cracked the door open, the GOP is trying to drive a Freightliner thru it, and now they are trying to put the lid back on Pandora’s box. Who privately and publicly floated the Special Election anyway?

  5. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:14 am:

    When did Illinois have it’s last partisan battle? The battles have been pretty lopsided far as I can tell…and that’s sort of the problem.

  6. - phocion - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:23 am:

    The Sun-Times has lost any credibility to argue how the next Senator is selected. They knew how ethically challenged Blagojevich was when they “endorsed” Jackson to get the nod from the Governor. And now they concede that Quinn is a good man, yet he cannot name someone to fill the seat? Nonsense. That, together with Laura Washington’s and Mary Mitchell’s bleating about how a U.S. Senate seat must be reserved for an African American is enough to make one question the sanity of the editors of that paper.

  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:24 am:

    If I recall correctly, Durbin and Madigan were out in front with the special election idea the day after the arrest. I think they were trying to stick it to Quinn.

    Harry Reid must have gone through the roof. Why risk a Dem seat in the midst of scandal?

    Rod still has some cunning. If he signs the bill, it sure looks like he can effectively carry out the duties of his office and work with the General Assembly.

  8. - babs - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:26 am:

    Put Edgar, Dawn and one other person (Cindy Canary?) on a panel to choose the replacement. They must aqree on the choice. That’s our person for the next two years. Let Pat Quinn appoint this panel (as the acting gov) and not change anything permanently just because we elected an idiot to be gov.

  9. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:34 am:


    It still remains to be seen whether there will be a SE bill, or in what form it will take. Cross and Madigan may work out a deal to name a temporary US Senator pending a SP/SE scenario. I am in favor of a SE if the logistics can be worked out satisfactorily to have a timely election. If we are waiting til November 09, we are just a year away from the National cycle election.

  10. - Capitol View - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:34 am:

    The obvious solution here is for the State Democratic Party to call together a council of past and present political leaders and come up with a consensus Democrat to appopint to the seat. Then, either Blago (or in short time) Quinn could make that appointment, and everyone would accept it, including the US Senate.

    Speaker Madigan is head of the State Democratic Party,and this option has to be on his list of poosible actions. Another option is to issue a statement as party leader or a House resolution that anyone appointed by Blago is a “temporary appointment”, subject to later legislative confirmation.

  11. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:36 am:

    babs- how about a caveat that Edgar or Dawn can’t select theirselves!

  12. - The Advisor - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:43 am:

    Don’t be surprised to see this well known name appointed to the Senate, should Pat Quinn get the option.

    * ROLAND BURRIS - Most likely choice not just because Burris is African-American, but he’s close to Quinn. There was a quiet alliance between Burris and Quinn in 2002. While Burris might lose a General Election, he would increase African-American turnout which would help Quinn in an early primary in 2010.

  13. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:47 am:

    What will they have to pay the gov to sign away his right to appoint? You know, it’s a f#$@ing valuable thing, you don’t just give it away! Maybe they can offer to cover his legal fees and appoint Patty to the staff of the JCAR.

  14. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:48 am:

    Blago is really becoming a one man Democratic wrecking crew. Now he would sign a bill to have an election so Repubs get the seat. He really is taking apart the Illinois Democratic Party piece by piece. I am not sure how many people will go down because of this greedy fool but it has only just begun.

  15. - Captain Flume - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 9:53 am:

    So this means that he will still be in a position to sign a bill, or believes he will be. Interesting point of view. And he is probably right.

  16. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 10:03 am:

    MJM’s calculation must be: Are we better with a weakened Blago, or an empowered Quinn? Actually, many calculations here.

  17. - Sacks Romana - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 10:19 am:

    So if a special election is held, and the Republicans still lose, can we then declare the ILGOP dead?

  18. - Niles Township - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    Joe Birkett that Ryan/Bush Republican is never one to pass up an opportunity to indicate his interest in statewide office. The GOP just sounded the opening round of the 2010 election with its commercial. I am sure the Dems have film of Birkett being buddy, buddy with Ryan. In fact, the more numerous than you would think tapes are out there, easily accessible. So the GOP should be careful on how it plays this. The pox is on everyone’s house right now. As far as I am concerned, I think it great that Pat Quinn is the Lt. Governor. Heck, Dems & GOPers have hated him for years. What more perfect guy to step in and clean-up a bit.

  19. - This Dog Don't Hunt - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 10:27 am:

    The circular firing squad formed by the Illinois democrats with regard to their immediate call for a legislative special session to change the law with respect to filling the Senate seat through special election; and giving “the power to the people” has been amusing to watch. More importntly, this has laid bare for all to see that these politicians are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. If the time frame for a special election were not so condensed, this would be the ideal opportunity to petition for a question as to a call for a state constitutional convention to be placed back on the ballot again as well. In less than a week; the critical importance of giving “power to the people” has disolved back into; how can we best make a case for keeping power away from the poeple instead, because if we turn it over to them we can’t control what they’ll do.

    The flawed reasoning outlined by Senator Cullerton below; and adopted previously by the Lt. Governor; is patently absurd.

    “We need a senator immediately. We need a senator to be there to be voting in the first week of January to support…our incoming president, one of our former colleagues,” Cullerton said.

    If having two Senators was so important for the citizens of Illinois, why weren’t they speaking out over the last three years when one of the two we had was AWOL?

    Consider that Barack Obama missed 314 of 1299 roll call votes (24%) from Jan 6, 2005 through October 1, 2008. His voting record is considered “exceedingly poor relative to his peers”, and a good number of those votes were on important matters.

    Also consider that while seated in the Senate Obama sponsored 121 bills since Jan 24, 2005, of which 115 (95%) haven’t made it out of committee and 3 were successfully enacted.

    Illinois has been without a Senator for several years now, and quite frankly the taxpayers should get the benefit of a refund to the treasury for such a poor record of attendance and ineffectiveness as a legislator.

    Giving the “power to the people” seemed like such a bright idea at the time; because when the disinfectant of sunshine was applied ever so briefly to Illinois’ political process, it was critically important to make sure the poeple knew that you were different, and that you stood with them and trusted their ability to do the right thing.

    Once the statesman disappeared behind closed doors to their smoke filled room they realized how much their idea really stunk for their own benefit, and so they decided to simply apply some deodorant and then put some lipstick on piggy Quinn and his moral superiority of being able to fill the Senate seat because afterall it’s not the process that’s flawed, it’s really just the individual presently empowered to make the decision.

    How bad could it really be if we just threw them all out and started over from scratch with people that have never held any elective office before? There are a lot of very good people presently un-employed that would still likely bring a far broader and better perspective to the opportunity than just the “where’s mine” philosophy that seems to have been adopted by representatives of both parties.

  20. - babs - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 10:38 am:

    How does creating a bill that requires Blago to sign that removed the selection of US Sen from his office affect the LMadigan suit that he is not able to carry out his duties?

  21. - babs - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    Six -

    As I said - they all have to agree. But now that you mention it - yes, it must be someone other than the decision makers. Thanks

  22. - grand old partisan - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 10:41 am:

    As anyone at GOP headquarters looked into getting some sort of restraining order against Oberweis?

    Seriously, though, I really hope that our party leadership (state and national) have been in touch with all the usual suspects and actually gotten them to agree to rally behind a single candidate (Kirk?). If the special primary turns into another conservative/moderate fight to the death, then our ONLY hope of snagging the seat is if the Democratic primary turns into a political race war.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 10:54 am:

    “The citizens of IL are sick and tired…” sounds like something someone can say about Joe Birkett. “The citizens of IL are sick and tired of the same middle aged men out of DuPage thinking they are statewide office material.” …Rolando Cruz … If they take the plea deal, will Birkett admit he was wrong like every court in IL says he was?

    Maybe a question should be, “Who is more of a gadfly trying to make sure they get the most expose against RRG?” Is it Fritchey or Birkett?

  24. - Phil Collins - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 11:39 am:

    I hope that St. Sen. Brady, Joe Birkett and Jim Oberweis won’t run, statewide, in 2009 or ‘10. Too many Illinois Republicans ran for statewide office, lost, and ran in a second statewide campaign, thinking that the first campaign would help them win the second race. However, those candidates usually lost the second race. In 1996 and ’98, Al Salvi ran statewide races and lost both of them. In 2002, ’04, and ’06, Jim Oberweis ran statewide campaigns and lost all of them. In 2002 and ’06 Joe Birkett ran statewide campaigns and lost both of them. In 2004 and ’06, Steve Rauschenberger ran statewide campaigns and lost both of them. If Brady, Oberweis, or Birkett runs, statewide, in 2009 or ‘10, they’ll lose again.

    If we have a special U.S. Senate election, the republican nominee should be a conservative, since moderates keep losing. In 2006, then-Treasurer Topinka was moderate, and she got 38%. This year, a republican politician told me that Dr. Sauerberg is so liberal, he should have run as a Democrat. He got 33%. Illinois’ last republican U.S. senator was Peter Fitzgerald, a conservative. I read that Rep. Roskam would probably run, in a special election, and he would be the best nominee.

  25. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 11:44 am:

    Phil Collins,

    Conservative Republicans, when they run, also lose statewide races in IL. Alan Keyes being the most recent example.

  26. - Snidely Whiplash - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 11:54 am:

    Have the charges against Blago changed Sobbing Dick’s mind about supporting a pardon for George Ryan?

  27. - Phil Collins - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 12:56 pm:

    One of the reasons Keyes lost is that he moved to Illinois at the same time that he started campaigning. If the IL GOP choose a conservative who had been a state legislator, in IL, he or she would have received a higher percentage than Keyes received.

  28. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 1:07 pm:


    Seriously. Do you see Steve Rauschenberger, Frank Watson or Chris Lauzen beating Barack Obama for a US senate seat?

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 1:17 pm:

    Touche, Six.

  30. - The Advisor - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 1:52 pm:

    Actually running and losing can pay off. Lets not forget Pat Quinn ran for State Treasurer in 1986 and lost. He ran in 1990 and won. He ran for Secretary of State in 1994, U.S. Senate in 1996, and Lt. Governor in 1998 and lost then won Lt. Governor in 2002.

    Jim Oberweis has hope yet!

    Seriously, Judy Baar Topinka might be a toxic candidate who can win that seat if she runs. A moderate woman who does well in the gay community might actuallly do well in a special election.

  31. - markg8 - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 2:06 pm:

    A special election as a response to another Illinois governor getting himself in legal trouble doesn’t make sense to me. Getting rid of pay to play does.

    If we change the law so we choose a replacement for any senator who gets elected president by special election it’ll jeopardize the chances any senator from Illinois has of getting either party’s nomination.

    Does anybody doubt if we had such a law a year ago it wouldn’t have damaged Obama’s chances against Hillary? Did New York change their law to strip the governor’s office of this power when Spitzer was disgraced? No, and we shouldn’t cut off our noses to spite our faces either.

  32. - sparkle - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 2:11 pm:

    They want a special election?! Who voted Blago in, not once, but twice! There were rumbles of pay-to-play from the get go and then WE vote him back in again??? Don’t blame me, I voted for Judy.

  33. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 2:25 pm:

    Maybe we could use one of the state’s Lotto machines, put all of the Senate candidates’ names on a ping pong ball, and announce a lucky winner.

  34. - GOP'er - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 4:17 pm:

    Anyone who thinks that if the shoe was on the other foot that the Republicans would be calling for a special election is delusional.

    The Illinois GOP hasn’t cleaned up its own house, and that’s the problem.

    The GOP would lose this one too, don’t worry. Obama comes back to campaign for “his candidate” and it’s over.

    I’m all in favor of more open elections, any time, any place, for any reason. But it will just be the latest distraction from the next inevitable disaster for the Illinois GOP.

  35. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 15, 08 @ 6:51 pm:

    Phil,it might be nigh-on to impossible to receive a lower percentage for a high level office

  36. - From the Sidelines - Tuesday, Dec 16, 08 @ 4:27 am:

    Where will the money to hold this special election come from? We can’t lose sight of the current economic condition of our state and nation. I would rather see the money that would be spent on a special election used towards a jobs creation incentive package or other economic stimulus. While providing a temporary sense of empowerment, a multi-million dollar special election will do nothing to improve the everyday lives of Illinoisians.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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