* The Democrats are clearly hoping the heat dies down on the Roland Burris appointment…
Hopes for a U.S. Senate special election grew dimmer Thursday as Senate Democrats blocked a Republican-backed proposal to create an election for Roland Burris’ seat and future vacancies.
A Senate subcommittee on ethics voted 3-2 along party lines against Senate Bill 285. The measure calls for a special election within about six months after becoming law, opening Burris’ seat and possible future openings for election.
Republicans say the state should have a special election because of the clouded Burris appointment by now ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Democrats cited soaring costs in blocking the measure.
Both sides accused the other of playing political games.
While many legislators and state elected officials have called for a special election, this is the first plan to get any kind of vote at the Capitol. Last week Attorney General Lisa Madigan said lawmakers could legally replace Burris by ordering a special election.
But the estimated cost of a special election factored strongly in Chicago Democratic state Sen. Ira Silverstein’s decision to vote against the plan, Silverstein said. The three Democrats on the subcommittee voted to stop the plan while the two Republicans voted for it.
Republicans and Democrats went back and forth over the possible costs of a special election.
Murphy said a special election would cost $62 million and proposed using $15.4 million in unspent Senate funds to pay a quarter of the cost. Hendon countered with an estimate that the real cost of the special election would be between $71 million and $101 million. Murphy replied that cost shouldn’t be an overriding factor. […]
House Republicans have also introduced several special election plans but Democratic leader Barbara Flynn Currie, of Chicago, has stopped them from being assigned to a committee, much to the chagrin of Republicans who fume daily about it.
* But a choice could be forced on them if this lawsuit prevails…
Quinn is the defendant and Madigan is his lawyer in a suit brought by attorneys Tom Geoghegan, Marty Oberman and others based on the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It seeks to force the governor to call a special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama and now held by Roland Burris in what the plaintiffs view as a temporary appointment. […]
The suit says an election is mandated by the amendment, which states: “When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.”
Ratified in 1913, the amendment ordered popular elections of U.S. senators, in order to end the corrupted process of state legislatures appointing them.
In sum, it says elections are absolutely required—as they are for congressional seats. It makes a gubernatorial appointment temporary, aimed only at filling the gap between the date of the vacancy and completion of a special election, rather than for years until the next general election.
* And the story isn’t going away yet…
A Downstate prosecutor investigating whether Sen. Roland Burris perjured himself before a House impeachment panel has asked federal authorities for any recordings involving Burris for use in the probe, sources tell the Chicago Sun-Times. […]
The Republican prosecutor, Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt, has zeroed in on conversations between Burris and the governor’s brother Robert Blagojevich, who chaired the ex-governor’s campaign fund.
Those particular conversations have been a significant issue for Burris since the Sun-Times first reported last month that Burris failed to disclose, both under oath and in public statements, that Robert Blagojevich hit him up for money on the ex-governor’s behalf.
* The thing just festers…
On the same December day then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich named Roland Burris to fill President Obama’s U.S. Senate vacancy, Burris’ right-hand political man, Fred Lebed, phoned an associate and told him, “We’ll have to do some things for the governor.”
That’s the recollection of the associate, a health-care and political consultant named John Ruff, who went on to become one of Burris’ co-plaintiffs on a January lawsuit that sought to help Burris claim his Senate seat. […]
Lebed has a phone record of his own, which he said demonstrates Ruff is “a very scary guy.” Lebed saved a profanity-laced voicemail from Ruff from Feb. 17 — the same day Sangamon County’s top prosecutor announced the perjury probe of Burris and the Senate launched its Burris ethics inquiry. […]
“He is lying through his teeth,” said Lebed, who has no formal role with Burris’ Senate office. “He’s playing you guys.”
Former Commerce Secretary William Daley is leaning toward running for the Senate seat President Obama once held, sources close to Daley tell The Hill. They characterize the decision as all but finalized. […]
Daley has already held discussions about the race with two top political professionals in advance of making a bid official. They include Larry Grisolano, who played a central role in 2008 as Obama’s director of paid media and opinion research during the campaign. In January, Grisolano signed up with AKPD Message and Media, the firm founded by Obama senior adviser David Axelrod and home of Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.
Veteran pollster John Anzalone, who has seen his profile rise in recent years after handling surveys for Democratic candidates around the country as well as for Obama’s campaign, will also join the Daley team, if and when a run becomes official.
Among those considering a Senate campaign in 2010 are former Commerce Secretary William Daley, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and the Chicago Urban League’s Cheryl Jackson, a one-time press secretary to Blagojevich.
* Senate Democrats deal likely fatal blow to special election to replace Sen. Roland Burris
* Democrats end GOP’s hopes for special election to replace Burris
* Illinois Republicans appear to be losing special-election battle