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Question of the day

Monday, Dec 29, 2008

* The setup

The governor is supposed to appoint Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. But Rod Blagojevich is under a federal cloud of alleged corruption. And so the question remains on how this position will be filled.

Chicago Democrat Will Burns says he will put forth a bill in January that calls for the Illinois House and Senate to confirm the gubernatorial appointee.

BURNS: Balancing the fiscal problems the state is facing with the need for more disclosure and a better process, I thought that this hybrid proposal provides the public with more transparency.

Burns says a special election would be too costly. His proposal calls for two public hearings on the governor’s appointee. That person would then have to be approved by both chambers in Springfield. If passed, the new law would be limited to the Obama vacancy.


* The Question
: Does this seem like a reasonable alternative to you? Or, do you prefer something else, like, perhaps, a special election.

Explain fully, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

134 Comments
  1. - Levois - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 9:52 am:

    Do just limit this to the Obama vacancy make this a permanent change. A special election is a good idea, but make this the one good thing that comes out of this situation.


  2. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 9:54 am:

    The cloud covers more than the Guv. They’ll be allegations the Illinois House and Senate auctioned off the seat if they follow this plan. Why invite that?


  3. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 9:55 am:

    Footnote: A special election is the only thing people will trust. Any other option will be tainted.


  4. - what a crook - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 9:56 am:

    A special election is the best way to fill a Senate vacancy, any Senate vacancy. It’s the peoples’ seat, let the people fill it.


  5. - phocion - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 9:56 am:

    As I made this suggestion on your blog before the current scandal came to light, I am flattered by Will Burns’ hat tip to me. Events since I first suggested this idea, however, have changed. The legislature had its chance, but now it will seem to be nothing more than an attempt to clip Pat Quinn’s wings - and the Lt. Gov. has done nothing wrong here. It could also be viewed as an attempt to punt the issue of impeachment, let Blago make a pick, and give the imprimatur of respectability to it by having the state legislature sign off on it. Sorry, Will, but you’re a day late and a dollar short on this one. Leave the system as is, let Quinn appoint when he becomes Governor, than tinker with the system to your heart’s content.


  6. - Punley Dieter Finn - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 9:57 am:

    Good idea, but legislation isn’t necessary. The General Assembly can express its approval of a nominee by way of joint resolution in regular or special session.


  7. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 9:58 am:

    I would like to avoid a special election…I guess this is an alternative, but why in the name of God would any legislator wish to add credence to anything the embattled Gov. does/says?

    Is this idea directly or indirectly from his mentor 44?

    As a Dem who worked hard to elect Dem Obama, I do not want a Republican to have this seat…


  8. - Joe in the Know - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:01 am:

    It comes down to this: will Pat Quinn be trusted enough to make the right choice in his appointment of a US Senator? Because in all reality, Quinn will be Governor long before Will Burns’ bill becomes law.

    By the way, I think Quinn will choose the proper replacement for Obama. My bet: Duckworth.


  9. - what a crook - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:03 am:

    Anonymous45 - I can see where you’re coming from. I mean, what’s a little thing like restoring the people’s faith in Government when the Democrats have a seat to protect?


  10. - John Bambenek - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:07 am:

    Astute historians will remember one of the reasons we got direct election of senators is because someone bought off enough legislators in the ILGA to get the nod…


  11. - Secret Square - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:09 am:

    Under normal (i.e. not scandalous) circumstances, the governor would have made the appointment and no one would have objected. It’s not as if any right the voters had is being taken away from them. Up until the morning of Dec. 9, everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, fully expected a Democrat to be appointed to the seat.

    Trying to hastily arrange a special election at this point might not be worth all the trouble and expense involved. It’s probably too late now to coordinate it with the municipal elections. By the time petitions could be circulated, ballots drawn up, etc., we would be getting well into summer. By the time a winner was chosen, it would be almost time for the 2010 primary cycle anyway.

    I say, change the law for FUTURE Senate vacancies to provide for a special election, but why rush to change it now with the next regular election closing in anyway. Whoever is appointed is going to serve less than two years anyway if not reelected in his/her own right, so I see no reason not to trust Pat Quinn with this appointment.


  12. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:10 am:

    WAC:I’m glad you see my point…refresh my memory as to the upstanding candidates that ran against Barack, will you please?


  13. - The Doc - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:11 am:

    Cart before the horse here - who would accept Blago’s sullied nomination? The GA should be laser-like focused on impeachment and conviction.

    Moreover, and in the event that the nominee accepted, why would Burns want to tie himself and the rest of the GA to a Blago appointment?

    None of the scenarios that have been floated are particularly appealing - all the more reason to allow Quinn to select the next senator when the current guv is ousted, pursuant to state law.


  14. - JI - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    Pat Quinn was quoted yesterday as saying that if he is appointed, he will call for a special election. How many times is this guy gonna flip-flop?


  15. - Emily Booth - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    Special legislation and a special election are unnecessary since impeachment proceedings have begun. I think Quinn should appoint Obama’s replacement.


  16. - Segatari - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:14 am:

    It’s bloody obvious, the Dems don’t want to give the GOP a chance to retake a seat that’s firmly under their control. I would like a chance to vote on Obama’s successor and give many a chance to compete for the seat for the voter to choose from and there won’t be a primary to narrow it down to two may not be your preference candidates. It’s rare that we would get a chance to elect a senator with a wide open field.


  17. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:14 am:

    How many times is this guy gonna flip-flop?

    I noticed that. He needs to stay off TV. Note Lisa Madigan has learned this lesson unless she was on somewhere and I missed it.


  18. - observation - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:15 am:

    A special election is too expensive. Get Blago out of there and let new Gov. Quinn do his job and appoint a replacement.


  19. - Holdingontomywallet - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:17 am:

    Special election is the way to go - let the people decide. Like it or not, this circus-like atmosphere over the past 6 years has placed a dark cloud over most of our elected officials.


  20. - Smitty Irving - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:17 am:

    Since the term ends anyway in 2010, and there will be an election then, why not fill the seat, say, the same way the Illinois Republican Party fills their leadership positions?


  21. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    Arlene Jones is suggesting a raffle.


  22. - wndycty - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:22 am:

    There needs to be a compromise. I think this is a good idea.


  23. - Esteban - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:22 am:

    Wouldn’t Burns’s suggestion require changing the
    Consitution? If it can be done by statute, then
    Blago can sit on it for sixty days and veto it…and then appoint someone of HIS choosing.


  24. - Princess - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:23 am:

    Anonymous45 “As a Dem who worked hard to elect Dem Obama, I do not want a Republican to have this seat…”—

    I’m on the same line here with not wanting a Republican to replace Obama. In the next general election, if the Republicans can find someone, fine. But Illinois voted a democrat into Obama’s seat and it should remain a democrat seat until expiration of the term. I see the Republicans grab for a chance of this seat as plain wrong–the citizens voted in a democrat.

    I may not have paid enough attention to Quinn yesterday, but did not he say he would temp appoint the seat until a special election could be held? Election perhaps in June? I believe his thought was IL would have 2 reps instead of one. But I don’t think I agree with that either. As stated before a dem won the seat a dem should have the seat until expiration. I find it offensive to watch the Republicans try and jump on this , this should not be about the Republicans getting a second chance to snare the seat, if IL citizens had wanted a Republican in the seat they would have voted one in in the first place. Just let Quinn appoint for the full remaining time on the term. IL citizens also voted in Quinn to be our 2nd man if Rod poofed for whatever reason, therefore we need to trust Quinn to do this appointment.


  25. - One of the 35 - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:23 am:

    This is a reasonable, inexpensive alternative. In these economic times we cannot afford a special election.


  26. - ratsoup - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:24 am:

    I actually think this is an excellent idea as it will save taxpayers money and get illinois off the national news for a minute


  27. - O well - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    What is hard to understand about this - - QUINN CALLING FOR A SPECIAL ELECTION - - see the Quinn quote in brackets below. He is taking the populist view, and the legislature will “manage the pursestrings” by letting Quinn’s appointed Senator serve until the time when a special election will not be costly - - the “never hold one” special election. [[[”I think that [a special election] probably can’t occur now until June of next year,” Quinn said. “And I do think there should be a temporary appointment to make sure Illinois has two senators at all times. If I am the governor, I would certainly push that kind of a law.
    And we’ll see what happens. The legislature has to adopt the law and then send it to the governor.” ]]]


  28. - Cynic - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    Anything that saves the State from the cost of a special election is ok by me. The people can vote for a new pol soon enough because the new bozo (erm…Senator) only gets 2 years in office. Meanwhile, Carol Mosely Braun got 6 years which shows that even allowing the people to decide isn’t necessarily going to get a better result than an appointment/hybrid process.


  29. - Anon - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    I don’t understand why people think that a special election is the only thing that won’t be tainted? How do you reconcile a state with the budget challenges we have with rushing to spend money we don’t have on a special state wide election? We can’t even meet our pension obligations, now! Looks like we can’t even borrow money… How about putting 35 million on the debts we currently can’t pay? A good candidate is one who was not embroiled in the current horse trading and has impeccable credentials. Even better is a person who probably won’t run in the real election. Representative Elect Burns is not late..he’s right on time. The 96th GA which won’t be seated until the 14th. Further, the U.S. Senate only has the power to evaluate whether the Senate appointment meets the qualifications of the Constitution. That’s it. And Quinn can’t make the appointment unless the Gov steps down or is impeached….both a long way off. Let’s get on with the business of the state so we can stop being the laughing stock of the country. The proposed Burns legislation is right on point. People need to remember that there is a reason why we have an appointment provision for statewide candidates and a special election for congressional candidates in the first place. The world will not fall apart in the little over a year before the next regularly scheduled election. Let’s all calm down and get the show on the road. And if the Republicans believe in the inherent system fixing properties of our electoral process, then they should give the best they got in the next regularly scheduled election. They’ll still be able to run against corruption and everything else that is evil about Democrats. The impeachment process will still go on..if Quinn gets his shot, he’ll be the acting Gov. The sun will still rise. And before you know it, it’ll be morning in Illinois again.


  30. - Cynic - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:28 am:

    — Bill Baar — The problem with the raffle idea is that it doesn’t go far enough. Why buy tickets for a pol when you should be able to buy them for yourself? And maybe the state could give out free entries if you’ve paid your taxes on time, become an organ donor, etc.


  31. - Quinn inarticulate but not contradictory - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:29 am:

    “How many times is this guy gonna flip-flop?”

    I would argue that Quinn has never flip-flopped. On Dec. 9th hours after the arrest Quinn said he favors a special election. He has never gone back on this stance.

    The only thing that has changed is that he believes there should be a temporary appointment until the special election.

    Has Quinn been inarticulate in his position on the senate seat? YES. Has he contradicted himself? NO.

    Its really the most sensible solution. It gives the people what they are clamoring for (a fair election) and does not deprive Illinois from having two votes during one of the most crucial times in our nation’s history.


  32. - Angry Chicagoan - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:29 am:

    This is an excellent idea. It’s rather like confirmation of a cabinet appointee, and it’s at least that important. It saves us from a special election that we can ill afford at the moment, and it cleans up the process.

    I hope it becomes a permanent change, not a one-off.

    I would add one caveat; I think laws requiring the party of the replacement senator to be the same as the outgoing one are also a good idea. See the recent Wyoming special election to see what I mean; as much as I like Governor Freudenthal, would a Democrat in that seat to replace Craig Thomas really have been “democratic” given the outcome of the special?


  33. - Phil Collins - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:30 am:

    The legislature should pass a law that would state that, when an Illinois U.S. senator resigns or dies, the governor will appoint a temporary replacement and set a date for a special election. If the senator is chosen this way, the voters would choose the senator, using a special election, but we wouldn’t lose representation, since the governor would appoint someone, who would fill the seat until the election or later, if he or she wins the special election.


  34. - GA Watcher - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:31 am:

    I’ll give Will Burns a “B” for imagination and an “A” for the public relations he is generating for himself.

    What everyone needs to do, though, is step back and look at the long-term effects of the alternatives being considered. Do we really want to hamstring future Governor’s because of the sins of the current one?

    That being said, I could support conducting a special election when there is more than half of a US Senator’s term remaining. I would allow the Governor to appoint a replacement when there is less than half the term left.

    As for the current predicament, there seem to be enough safeguards in place whereby any potential Blago appointment would not be seated. Plus, who in their right mind would want a Blago appointment anyway?


  35. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:32 am:

    I don’t understand why people think that a special election is the only thing that won’t be tainted?

    They don’t think Blagojevich the only corrupt Illinois Pol. The system is broke. The culture corrupt. A special election the only option. It’s why Durbin first suggested it…

    …until he had second thoughts.


  36. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:35 am:

    Can the proponents of a special election please include who they think should pay for it? My county clerk can not afford an unbudgeted special election even in good times and we are far from good times.


  37. - Ahoy - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:38 am:

    The Senate and House Leaders should meet with the Gov’s people and make a deal. Since the Secretary of State nor the U.S. Senate will seat the gov’s pick, have the House and Senate pass a resolution supporting the appointment of a retired well respected politician who will only serve the remaining term and then step aside and allow an open 2010 Senate race. Someone like Glen Poshard or even a Jim Edgar if the Dem’s would go for it. Heck just appoint Peter Fitzgerald.


  38. - KeepSmiling - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:39 am:

    ==The citizens voted in a democrat==
    The citizens voted in Obama, who is a democrat. The citizens did not vote in Alan Keyes, the crazy candidate from out of state who was the republican choice, thanks to the selection by party leaders. Can the citizens of IL make another good decision in a special election? We have a track record of 1 success. Party leaders have a track record of 0. I say, let’s have a special election. With primary first. I’m kind of ready for another Oberweis campaign.


  39. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    Here is my question, isn’t this a change to the Constitution? Doesn’t the voters get to vote on it first?

    I still do not rule out that the Governor will go ahead and appoint someone with impecable credentials, the question would be who would take that appointment.

    My overall feeling is there should be a special election. Let the people decide, I think right now the confidence for the legislature is very low.


  40. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    The Senate and House Leaders should meet with the Gov’s people and make a deal.

    Or from the sale of tin foil caps to the growing number of folks who will read about deals in Illinois.

    A fortune to be made…


  41. - You Go Boy - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    I think it is the most reasonable suggestion considering our fiscal mess. A special election would cost $40 million and unlikely that the choice would be any better than the option Burns suggests. IF our 1st interest is whats best for the people of this state vs. party, go with this idea, but if your interest is Party over people, then special election will be your chant.


  42. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:42 am:

    Oh please,,, it was Party over people that gave us Blagojevich. Google Quinn’s 2006 endorsement….


  43. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:42 am:

    KeepSmiling: thanks, I am :)


  44. - jake - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:43 am:

    I agree with former Governor Edgar, who said that the last thing the state needs right now is another state wide partisan election. I would add that the last thing the legislature needs now is to fuss about the U.S. Senate seat. The seat will be up anyway in 2010, so there will be an election for it soon enough.

    The legislature needs to remove Blagojevich as quickly as possible, let Quinn make an interim Senate appointment, and then focus on solving this horrible budget mess we have. Off years, when there is no election, are a good time to focus on real problem solving. Let’s do that.


  45. - Judgment Day Is On The Way - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    First off, there’s an April, 2009 regular election cycle coming up. Piggyback onto that one, and you’re golden. It’s already going to be seriously expensive anyway, because of so many different ballot styles (school boards, municipalities, and townships). Will the costs be somewhat higher if a statewide office is included? - Yes, but not outrageously higher (in spite of what some some election authorities are saying).

    There’s one other issue out there that a lot of the posted comments are skirting around - There’s a rapidly growing amount of citizenry discontent about all the politics - they don’t trust anybody right now (Maybe Fitz, but nobody else).

    Kick this decision back to the voters - because if the pols make the decision and it comes across after the decision that the person selected is “ethically challenged”, watch out. This electorate will be very unforgiving.


  46. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    It’s not 100% clear that this complies with the strictures of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but I admire Rep. Burns’s creative solution. The big variable is whether or not Blago would sign such a law or put it in his pocket.

    This could also be done informally, the ILGA could give the gov a list of 3 acceptable names.


  47. - John Bambenek - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:45 am:

    If elections are so expensive why don’t we just do away with all of them and return to the days of hereditary blood lines.

    Oh wait…


  48. - Mark Shelden` - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:48 am:

    Not many people seem to be considering the free option for a special election. That is to have the parties slate candidates and have independents file in February for the April 7th election. There would be minimal costs involved and the seat would be filled in a way that would have greater public confidence.


  49. - Mongo - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:49 am:

    As much as I’d like to see a second Senator from Illinois NOW, a special election is not the answer. Too much cost, and no lead time for all but the already-interested candidates.

    Let the process run its course. It is clear the US Senate won’t accept a Blago appointment. So let’s wait. Governor Quinn will appoint someone this spring at the latest.


  50. - cermak_rd - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:52 am:

    I don’t think a special election is worth it for 2 years of a six year term. Why not have the gov name a highly respected elder statesperson and have that elder stateperson pledge to only serve out the term thus leaving the 2010 election as a wide open field for both parties. If he names such a person I’m sure the GA could give him/her a nod.

    Elder statesperson suggestions: Burris and Dixon, I’m sure there are more.


  51. - Been There - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    The legislative leaders should get together with Quinn and agree to have him appoint someone who would only serve out Barack’s term. Let the next election act as the special election since there would not be an incumbent. The only downside to the GOP is that Kirk would have to give up his seat to run. Appoint a respected retired judge or maybe Alan Dixon. Someone with a track record who can be trusted.


  52. - A Citizen - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    The best solution is to simply give Dick Durbin TWO votes, and wait out the two years to the next election.


  53. - anon - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:02 am:

    I say leave it empty. We’ve gone 4 years with only one Senator, what’s two more?


  54. - True Observer - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:08 am:

    Missing the Obvious -

    The reason Will Burns is coming up with this “advise and consent” idea is because he knows that Blago is not going to be impeached.

    Since Blago is staying, the only thing that works all around is a special election.

    All 40 or so state senators elected in 2008 were elected to 4 year terms. They’re not going to be facing voters until 2012. For anyone to suggest that they are going to be concerned about facing the voters when they vote on impeachment is laughable.

    Until Blago is removed, he still has the power to appoint members to boards and commissions. If he is not removed, he’ll still be making those appointment for 2 more years.

    Can Blago reach 20 plus senators to avoid conviction? You betcha.


  55. - Holdingontomywallet - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    I say leave it empty. We’ve gone 4 years with only one Senator, what’s two more?

    So true…


  56. - Tired of the Mess... - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:12 am:

    Those suggesting the special election–have you read the paper to see how far behind the state is in making payments to providers? Spending millions on this is not fiscally responsible and violates the manner in which the seat is to be filled–via appointment from the governor. There is no such thing as a clean politician. Quinn can fill the seat by appointment and this should then serve the appointee as an internship. Screw up and the public knows in two years that you are not capable and votes to replace you. Do well and you have some on the job training to support your campaign.


  57. - Downstate Commissioner - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:14 am:

    Said it last week in another post, and will say it again-am not a fan of Quinn, but think he can be trusted to appoint a reasonably honest and competent senator. Don’t need the expense and the campaigning that will go along with it for a special election


  58. - Little Egypt - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:16 am:

    Let’s assume for a moment that the GOP has a candidate who can win a special election for the last two years of Obama’s seat. Let Quinn appoint a Dem replacement for these two remaining years and let the GOP continue to groom their annointed one to ensure that the GOP can take the seat back in two years, which I doubt will happen. I believe a special election would be a huge waste of time because the dems in this state would smell a rat and would get behind a yellow dog rather than be swayed to vote for a GOP candidate.


  59. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:17 am:

    Those suggesting the special election–have you read the paper to see how far behind the state is in making payments to providers?

    I’m guessing an Impeachment and Trial is no financial bargin either…

    Use Obama’s stimulus package if finance an issue.

    Otherwise, let the process work and wait until the Guv or Quinn can appoint.

    But I’m guessing True Observer right here: Can Blago reach 20 plus senators to avoid conviction? You betcha.


  60. - VanillaMan - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:19 am:

    The corruption in Illinois politics extends beyond Rod Blagojevich. Our current political world allowed a George Ryan and a Rod Blagojevich to be nominated, elected and run Illinois. The current slate of Illinois leaders did not step up in opposition to the corruption. Some campaigned with them, put their support behind them, and some co-chaired their campaigns. They met in private meetings with these men, made deals, back-slapped and dined with them. We know of the old popular Greek saying about how a fish rots from the head down, when we discuss rotted government, and we have to first admit that the fish that is Illinois has been totally rotted for years. The men and women that are now pretending to be shocked after December 9th, have held their noses for years while knowingly served rotted garbage to Illinois citizens.

    I am tired of this charade. I do not trust the majority of them. The man elected to reform government after Ryan turned out to be an even bigger crook. An entire political party schemed with him for six years. Who are they to guide us when it has been exposed that they themselves are either too stupid to too willing to roll in the mud with these men?

    We need a special election this time. Any individual appointed through these boobs will appear more corrupt to Illinois citizens than an individual elected by voters. We have disillusioned, cynical citizens after nearly three terms of gubernatorial criminals. Address this. Stop playing politics with it. We’ve had enough.

    Since December 9th, we’ve been watching our elected officials play games. They pray that Blagojevich would resign so that they wouldn’t have to do their jobs. They pray that Fitzgerald give them a road map so they wouldn’t have to make a decision. They pray that the next Senator from Illinois keeps the seat within the Democratic Party and that whoever is appointed will make Illinoians forget the scandals that surround them. The party that gave us Blagojevich twice, wants us to continue believing that he was an aberration and that their hands are clean. Mr. Burn’s proposal is another attempt to spread the responsibility among too many elected officials to take any blame or hold anyone in particular accountable. It is a coward’s way to assist those in the General Assembly too comfortable in their tenured digs to risk their plush lifestyles or dash their political pipe dreams.

    We need leaders to do what they were elected to do. Rod Blagojevich’s drama has exposed the truth that he was the one with the testicular virility in Illinois governement. No wonder he wasn’t afraid of the baying eunuchs surrounding him when he broke the law. We need leaders.

    The cost of resurrecting Illinois’ reputation will far surpass that of a special election.


  61. - Karl - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:21 am:

    Does anyone have any other links to watch or listen the hearings in Springfiels, The state of Illinois site does not work for me. thanks


  62. - Say WHAT? - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:23 am:

    The hundreds of phone calls we are getting all are asking for a special election. We have not had a single call in oposition to a special election. However, the calls in favor of special elections did not initiate the call themselves. Commercials on CNN & MSNBC along with robo-calls initiated the calls.

    I personally think Pat Quinn would do the right thing in appointing a Senator. What I think does not matter to constituents who feel angry, betrayed and want safeguards against any other abuse of power. Point taken.


  63. - Phil Collins - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:27 am:

    The majority of states, including CA, WI, MN, and LA, hold special elections, to replace a state legislator who resigns or dies. However, Illinois allows party leaders to appoint the replacements. If those states can afford to hold special elections, to replace legislators, Illinois should also be able to afford to do the same, to replace a U.S. senator and state legislators.


  64. - Ghost - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:29 am:

    We are talking about filling the seat short term until the election. The cost and delay of a special election make it a ridiculous solution. This oversight idea is on its face reasonable. Perhaps this should be considered going forward that all such appointments require legislative approval. Then again, many of the people appointed by the Gov to date were covered by legislative approval oversight. I donot reacll the legislature blocking any of the appointments over which they had oversight.


  65. - Captain Flume - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:30 am:

    No special election, please. The timing of passing necessary legislation and getting it signed is too cumbersome, and probably too costly, to have it done on such short notice. If the current governor’s selection won’t be seated, or if he does not make a selection, so be it. What is the loss to our state if we have only one US Senator for a while? US Senate Dems may be irked by the prospect, but if THEY want to change the US Constitution to prescribe the manner in which vacant seats are filled, let them start the process. If the current Governor is replaced, let the next Governor make the selection. If the constitution needs to be changed to allow a special election to fill an empty US Senate seat, then get a proper Illinois Constitutional Amendment passed by the GA and put to a vote by the electorate.


  66. - Say WHAT? - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:30 am:

    Karl,

    wgn.com has a live link under the Chicago TV station. CNN has nothing today.


  67. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:43 am:

    Gosh, those Repubs are really selling democracy lately… they are all for elections now. I seem to recall they weren’t so hot for the idea of counting the votes in Florida in 2000. They were perfectly OK with the appointment of Bush by the Supreme Court then.


  68. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:43 am:

    Well said VM. Well said.


  69. - Fifteen minutes - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:48 am:

    Oh, so is Will still working for Emil??


  70. - Phil Collins - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:52 am:

    The 17th Amendment, of the U.S. Constitution 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.”


  71. - Joe in the Know - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:02 pm:

    I seriously doubt there are 20 senators who would be willing to put their legislative careers on the line by siding with a governor with 8% approval rating (and I might be overly generous with the 8%). The truth of the matter is this: this case has already been tried in the court of public opinion and the verdict is not good for Governor Blagojevich.


  72. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:02 pm:

    I seriously doubt the capacity of the U.S. Senate to refuse to seat a Blagojevich appointment, particularly if there is anything at all done to make the pick seem legit. If it’s a current statewide officer, a former Senator, someone suggested by IL House and IL Senate leaders, etc. The US Senate probably couldn’t refuse to seat someone just because blago appointed them.

    One important thing to keep in mind, if we can appoint someone now and have them sworn in before the new Senate is sworn in, our junior Senator will start out with more seniority than if we have a special election or use Mark Shelden’s proposal.

    Plus, from a partisan standpoint, it’s obviously stupid for the dems to risk a contested election right now.


  73. - Vote Quimby! - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:05 pm:

    To the original question: NO, this is contrary to the state’s constitution; which two-thirds of voters just said last month they approve of untouched. Unless they want an amendment, this is not the way to go.


  74. - plutocrat03 - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:15 pm:

    If Pat Quinn could make the appointment expeditiously the so be it.

    I do not share the view that the Governor will go down on any schedule other than his own. I nearly dropped my dessert when I heard the Lincoln’s birthday prediction.

    A special election is always superior to a political appointment. To those who voted for BO for senate, tough noogies. He did little work for the State of Illinois so he did not do what you sent him to do in Washington anyway.


  75. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:16 pm:

    VM; pure direct democracy as the solution for everything? One special election per month with all pending questions of public policy on the ballot? I think the founding fathers’ idea was better than that.

    Burns’ idea is reasonable. We have already let too many policy decisions be made because of who is governor at the moment. Policy decisions should be made for the sake of good government, not because of personalities, and Burns applies his solution to the immediate case only, thereby dealinf with the current circumstance for what it is, an exception.


  76. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:25 pm:

    VMan and BB, the same people who elected George Ryan and Blago would elect the senator, correct?

    I trust Quinn to make the appointment under the current law. The next election is right around the corner. Let’s save the money.


  77. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:28 pm:

    I’ve spent the last 10 minutes re-reading the state constitution, and I missed any language dealing with US Senate vacancies.


  78. - Stooges - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:34 pm:

    I would like to see a special election because I think a Republican would have a shot to take the seat. No way the Dems allow an election though.

    I agree with VanMan, the legislature would give anything not to have to vote on impeachment.


  79. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:40 pm:

    ===the legislature would give anything not to have to vote on impeachment.===

    That’s crazy talk. They’re practically frothing at the mouth.


  80. - Just My Opinion - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:58 pm:

    Steve, YOU of all people should know that this would not be contained in the Illinois Constitution but will now be an Illinois Revised Statute. Since you have time on your hands, research that through the LIS and let us know what you find out.


  81. - Mountain Man - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 12:59 pm:

    Do any other states follow the “special election” route to fill a vacancy?

    Right now we have Governors in New York and Colorado mulling replacements for Senators Clinton and Salazar respectively, and the Governor of Delaware has already selected a replacement for Biden.

    Seems to me that it is a bad idea to make a new law for one person’s malfeasance. Prosecute the wrongdoer, but don’t change the process.


  82. - Nero - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    Enough with the political nonsense… it belittles everyone’s intelligence. Special Election legislation needs to be put on the books and applied for this vacancy and every other one going forward. The politicians are now using the cost measure as their excuse… as if this has ever stopped them in the past. They don’t have a clue about how ridiculous they are making themselves look.


  83. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 1:07 pm:

    JMO, I was simply obliquely (so I wouldn’t have to refer to them as “uninformed”) making the point to the uninformed on here that the filling of a US Senate seat isn’t covered in the Illinois Constitution, so no “violation” would occur, no “change” would be needed.

    Maybe I need to not be so oblique, but it’s polite and I enjoy it.


  84. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 1:16 pm:

    BTW, Mark Shelden’s suggestion also seems reasonable. The only downside i see is that turnout is frequently pretty low in odd-year election, but its frequently low in special elections also.


  85. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 1:20 pm:

    VMan and BB, the same people who elected George Ryan and Blago would elect the senator, correct?

    We’d have all of those newly empowered Obama supporters now.

    What is it…fool some of the people all of the times but never all of the people all of the time.

    Time’s come I think.


  86. - Smitty Irving - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 1:20 pm:

    Phil Collins - WRONG!
    In 1990 California US Senator Pete Wilson was elected Governor - and appointed John Seymour to replace him in 1991. Seymour lost to Dianne Feinstein in the 1992 regularly scheduled general election.
    When President Clinton appointed Lloyd Bentsen in 1993 as Secretary of the Treasury, Texas Gov. Richards appointed Bob Kreuger to replace him - and he lost the regularly scheduled 1993 election to Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
    When Mel Carnahan (although he was already dead)was elected to the US Senate in 2000, Missouri Gov. Wilson appointed his widow, Jean Carnahan to the US Senate in 2001 - and she lost the regularly scheduled 2002 election to Jim Talent.
    The point - each state does things differently, and Illinois is not compelled to follow what they do. If we are, let’s follow Wyoming law - which makes it an appointment FROM THE SAME PARTY as the previous senator.


  87. - Joe - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 1:43 pm:

    This is not a good solution. The Senate and House committee confirmation committee has always been fairly worthless and a waste of time.

    That being said, why is a special election a good solution, after all we elected Blagovich TWICE! and that was a normal election, a special election benefits the rich. PERIOD


  88. - Mountain Man - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 1:45 pm:

    Smitty,

    I believe Hawaii is the only other state that has the same law as Wyoming on Senate appointments being from the same party as their predecessor….likely for the same reason. Republicans in Wyoming want to protect their Senate seats from Democratic governors; and Hawaiian Democrats wanting to save their Senate seats (both of whom are in their late 80’s) from Republican Governor Linda Lingle.


  89. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 1:52 pm:

    I don’t remember ever seeing a House confirmation committee hearing


  90. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 2:07 pm:

    Special election is the only possible solution to this problem to avoid any appointee from being tainted by this entire process.

    For those who argue against one simply because of cost, since when does democracy take a back seat to expense?

    It will set up a future where a special election will be demanded for such future vacancies instead of appointments by governors. And the more I think about it, the better special elections sound.

    Unless Patrick Quinn decides to appoint Caroline Kennedy to serve on an “interim” basis? :-)


  91. - doc - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 2:22 pm:

    An “advise and consent” limitation on the Governor’s appointment power is likely unconstitutional under the federal 17th Amendment - if it is read as being as restrictive as other federal provisions are (such as the inability to require a congressmean to live within his/her district).


  92. - Anon-13 - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 2:28 pm:

    Since G-Rod is still busy playing Governor, the Dems in the General Assembly should send him, very pubicly, a recommendation in regard to a replacement for Obama. If he has any sense (yeah, I know) he would appoint the recommended person. How could either the Sec. of State or US Senate not seat a person recommended by the elected Dems and appointed in accordance with the IL Conststution?


  93. - MB - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 2:40 pm:

    Let’s give it to Quinn. He’s been beyond the gov’s debauchery since day one. Many things can be said of the Lt. Gov, but being crooked isn’t one of them. I hate the idea of a special election, I don’t like the idea of giving this to our legislators… In a normal situation, the governor having the power to choose this seat is an appropriate power, we just happen to have another crook.


  94. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 2:42 pm:

    http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=31125

    When I saw the link for this article, I thought a state lawmaker was recommending Bill’s appointment to the vacant US Senate seat. Sadly, I was mistaken.


  95. - babs - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 2:48 pm:

    Everyone is calling for a special election - but wait a minute - didn’t we (the PEOPLE) actually elect Rod - twice. No, I don’t want the voters of IL electing another dirt bag. for now, there has to be a better way.


  96. - Bill Baar - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 2:57 pm:

    No, I don’t want the voters of IL electing another dirt bag. for now, there has to be a better way.

    So you want to let all those Eisendrath majorities in the Legislature call the shot instead?

    C’mon… plenty of people, eyes opened and many shut, endorsed and voted for the Guv. Springfield hardly purer… that’s an insult.


  97. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 2:58 pm:

    Is anybody in this discussion calling for the special election not a Republican leaner?


  98. - North of I-80 - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 3:02 pm:

    Rod picks Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg to be IL US Senator and Gov Patterson picks Rod to be NY Senator. Then Patterson gets to pick again a month later and Caroline can get her much-needed experience in the Chicago Democratic way of doing things.


  99. - you can't do it - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 3:02 pm:

    The US Constitution gives States the ability to allow the executive to make an appointment until an election can take place. The Constitution does not permit another branch to “sign off” on that appointment.


  100. - Capitol View - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 3:16 pm:

    Steve Schnorf and others - see State Constitution at Article 5, Section 7. The governor shall make appointments to other elected offices not otherwise named, and the Senate shall confirm those appointments within 60 days.


  101. - VanillaMan - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 3:20 pm:

    Democracy empowers the elected with credibility. A Quinn or Blagojevich appointment does not.

    The voters of Illinois need to be allowed to select the next senator. All this quibbling over who it is, or who appoints whom misses a major point. It is through direct democracy we give credibility - not via celebrity, partisanship or royalty.

    The current situation demands that Illinoians make the selection through a special election.

    It is a sad commentary that I have to read through anti-democracy postings claiming that other elected officials should be empowered to appoint the next senator. This is an opinion that many would consider elitist. Those that rail against direct democracy by pointing out those who have been elected in the past are making a huge mistake. They vastly underestimate the importance of the process for the sake of an expected result.

    Demand your right as a citizen. It is what empowers each of us. Demand a special election.

    Do not allow others to do your choosing. You wouldn’t let others choose your house, your car, your clothes, or even your beer - don’t sell off your right to choose your government!


  102. - Smitty Irving - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 3:29 pm:

    Capitol View -

    Has anyone determined if the Illinois Constitution provisions you cited conflict with the US Constitution?


  103. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 3:35 pm:

    VM, representative democracy is not anti-democratic (you do know presidents are not elected directly, don’t you?).

    The gubernatorial power has been there forever and was unquestioned until Blago — who is an exceptional case — got into trouble. It’s not there to disenfranchise anyone, but to save time and money when there’s another election just around the corner anyway. There’s some governing that needs to be done now.

    And I’ll let anyone choose my beer if they’re buying. It’s only good manners.


  104. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 3:43 pm:

    CV, surely you jest. So if a mayor dies, the gov appoints his replacement, and the state Senate confirms? Think about it! The state constitution is talking about state offices. Even the Article you quote concerns state government executive offices. The US Constitution spells out the requirements for filling a US Senate vacancy.


  105. - O well - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 3:44 pm:

    CANNOT RUN AFOUL OF THE 17TH AMENDMENT, BUT NOTE THE LEGISLATURE’S POWER UNDER IT….Amendment XVII
    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

    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.

    This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.


  106. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 4:16 pm:

    Vote Quimby:

    2 things, one factual, one conceptual:

    1) This doesn’t impact the Illinois Constitution at all. The US Constitution, Amendment 17 (which is quoted earlier in this thread), leaves it to the state legislature to determine if there is a special election or if they want to empower the Governor to make the appointment. In 1943, the legislature passed a law to give the Governor this power:

    10 ILCS 5/25‑8:

    Sec. 25‑8. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from this state, the Governor shall make temporary appointment to fill such vacancy until the next election of representatives in Congress, at which time such vacancy shall be filled by election, and the senator so elected shall take office as soon thereafter as he shall receive his certificate of election. (Source: Laws 1943, vol. 2, p. 1.)

    2) Rejecting the con-con, avoiding an uncertain, outright free for all (which I personally supported, incidentally) does not imply that the people think the Illinois Constitution is perfect. Presumably the electorate remains aware that there are procedures for amending the constitution, and it is illogical and a little bit silly to try to argue that by rejecting the con con the people are implicitly declaring that the Illinois Constitution should forever remain unaltered.


  107. - Ghost - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 4:18 pm:

    Word, the Republicans have always been about putting power in the hands of the people, like when they sought the veto power for the gov…. oh wait that was to give power to the republican gov to overide the voice of the people and the legislature….

    Well the republicans know that blago can not be entrusted with any decision. Thats why the stood up with blago and pressed hard for the provision of 50 bilion more dollars to be handed out by the gov for construction work.

    In short, the epublicans trust the Gov to make decisions on spending 50 billion; and they beleive the Gov should have a line item veto to overide the peoples elected legislature.


  108. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 4:21 pm:

    To add clarity, and respond directly to Capitol View’s somewhat misleading post, Article V, Section 7 DOES NOT APPLY TO THE US SENATE SEAT. Here is the actual text, again, this is controlled by the US Const and the state law I cited in my previous comment:

    SECTION 7. VACANCIES IN OTHER ELECTIVE OFFICES
    If the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer
    qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor. If the Lieutenant Governor fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, it shall remain vacant until the end of the term.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)


  109. - reformer - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 4:28 pm:

    The Republican leadership that fights so hard to retain the appointment — not the election of — the GOP state central committee lacks credibility now in urging us to “trust the voters.” The GOP doesn’t trust the voters enough to let them elect party leadership; the Democrats do trust the voters enough to elect their SCC.


  110. - Rob_N - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 4:41 pm:

    John Bambenek rhetorically asked:

    “If elections are so expensive why don’t we just do away with all of them […]”

    Because under normal circumstances elections are budgeted for. This would be a statewide special election if it happened and would negatively impact every county’s budget at a time when most are struggling to get through month to month as it is.

    Holdingontomywallet dropped some stale GOP spin:

    “I say leave it empty. We’ve gone 4 years with only one Senator, what’s two more?”

    I say learn your facts.

    McCain was AWOL from the Senate, literally didn’t set foot on Capitol Hill, from April up until he “rushed” to the Big Bank $700 Billion Bailout Orgy (taking a day to go from New York City to Washington DC and managing to sit down with as many news anchors as he could).

    In the meantime, Obama actually balanced his campaign stops with his Senate duties.

    Did he skip votes on whether or not to name this or that post office after this or that so-and-so? You betcha.

    But did he make sure to go back to DC for the important votes like the GI Bill and other matters? Absolutely.

    As to Rich’s QOTD:

    Legislative approval on a gubernatorial appointment is something I’ve been advocating for a few weeks now.

    Make it permanent, not just a one-time thing. This is an office which represents the entire state after all.

    I’d be fine with approval out of just one of the chambers, but both is better I s’pose.


  111. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 4:41 pm:

    I think people who are trying to make any of this a partisan issue are making a huge mistake. People are tired of that approach to government.


  112. - Capitol View - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 4:48 pm:

    mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    I concur with those who have corrected me. The governor has the right to appoint a US senator until the next regularly scheduled Congressional elections, and there is no senatorial confirmation. That is Illinois law within the scope of the federal constitution. There are no other options unless the state law is changed, to call for a special election first.

    But until that law is changed and signed into law by whoever is governor, there could be no special election. That’s months away and millions of dollars away in local government election costs.

    Illinois needs two Illinois senators now in Washington, as the outgoing Congress and President continue to act. And the Senate Democrats need one more member on their side of the aisle, for the first 100 days of the Obama Administration.

    How could there be any political option but for an appointment to be made, either by Quinn as governor or by the entire Democratic Party for Blago to endorse?


  113. Pingback Comment on Capitol Fax’s Question of the Day : Urbanagora - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 5:04 pm:

    […] Question of the Day […]


  114. - Anon - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 5:09 pm:

    It’s the people’s seat, and the people should get the profit from it. Sell it to the highest bidder, and put the proceeds in the school fund.


  115. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 5:15 pm:

    Capitol View,

    I have a legal theory that probably doesn’t hold up, but here goes.

    Am 17 of the US Constitution vests the determination of whether or not to empower the governor with the appointment power solely with the legislature. Although the 1943 law has spoken on this issue, I wonder if a joint resolution calling for a special election, revoking the Governors power in this specific case, would hold up.

    Let me first say, I don’t think there is a chance this will happen because it would be a foolish risk for Democrats to risk a special election. Good governance, sure, but smart politics, no way. And Madigan and Cullerton are both bright guys.

    While in almost all cases a joint legislative resolution would be trumped by a state law, this may be a special case because the 17th Amendment doesn’t give the governor a role in the determination, and to reverse the law the Governor plays a vital role: He has to sign the damn thing.

    B/c the authority at issue comes from the US Constitution, not state law, this may be a special case where a joint resolution could reverse a statute.

    I know this is sort of an “out there” legal argument, but I thought it was worth raising for discussion, at least in the hypothetical.


  116. - Justice - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 5:16 pm:

    Special election would be the right thing now and in the future. Too important of a position of representation of the people to continue to hand the responsibility off to a single person or party. Let the people decide directly.


  117. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 5:34 pm:

    Reformer-

    You may have a point, although I don’t think more than 1% of the state’s population cares about how the GOP state central committee is chosen.

    My mythological poll-

    Q: Should the GOP state central committee be appointed or elected?

    Results:

    Elected 1%
    Appointed 1%
    Don’t Know 1%
    What is the GOP state central committee? 97%


  118. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 5:35 pm:

    Justice, Your motives may be pure, but its hard not to notice that most people calling for a special election also happen to be Republicans. I think a special election is very unlikely. The only way it would happen is if Quinn becomes Gov and refuses to make the appointment based on his view that there should be a special election. This may score some good governance points, but it would waste a lot of time and money, and could cause a needless fight with other party leaders.

    More importantly, the people are better off with a senator with more seniority, and if we wait until after a special election we will have the most junior person in the senate representing us, if we swear him/her in before, we will leap over the newly elected Senators who take office in late January.


  119. - Gregor - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 5:58 pm:

    Advice to Quinn: Appoint Marilee Leahy as the interim senator.


  120. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 6:02 pm:

    I’d like to see State Sen. Jacqueline Collins


  121. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 6:08 pm:

    More importantly, the people are better off with a senator with more seniority, and if we wait until after a special election we will have the most junior person in the senate representing us, if we swear him/her in before, we will leap over the newly elected Senators who take office in late January.

    The caveat here is that, if Quinn appoints a “placeholder” senator with no long term desire or prospects to stay, even if the Special Election idea is discarded, we will likely be starting fresh in 2010 with a new US Senator with zero seniority at that point.


  122. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 6:13 pm:

    “…its hard not to notice that most people calling for a special election also happen to be Republicans.”

    Well, the very likely next Governor, Pat Quinn(who happens to be a D) is in favor of a SE, and Dick Durbin and several other ranking D’s were out front in calling for a SE before they pulled back. most of the R’s who are clamoring for a SE seem to be circling the chum that was thrown out in the water by their rival party, not that it was their original thought.


  123. - PalosParkBob - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 6:23 pm:

    I don’t believe in “do-overs” when it comes to elections.

    Obama won that seat fair and square, even though the GOP leadership made every blunder conceivable to grease the way for him.

    I have no doubt that McKenna and his cronies would blow a special election just as handily, so there really isn’t any point in that.

    The Governor should nominate a candidate and it should be required that the legislature approve the candidate by a supermajority before being put on the April 7 ballot for voter “approval” by referendum.

    With checks and balances including the Guv, a supermajority of the legislature and a majority of those voting (for or against should be the only options)this should be enough to satisfy even the most jaded skeptic concerning the legitimacy of the candidate.

    The additional cost would be minimal. The candidate would have to make his/her case to the people for ratification in April. and be fully vetted by the press.

    If the candidate is approved by the voters in April (it could require a 60% majority as it was for the con-con), they take office.

    If not,the seat remains open until the next regularly scheduled election.

    This is about as much as can be done to ensure that a candidate acceptable to the governor, legislature and voters takes their seat in the Senate.

    There would be a very strong incentive for the Guv and legislature to approve someone acceptable to the people, since a failure to do so would result in a Dem seat being open in the Senate until the next general election. That would give Obama and Reid some real heartburn.

    I think that’s the best we can do.


  124. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 6:52 pm:

    Six Degrees, Both are good points. I don’t advocate the placeholder approach, I’m not suggesting we appoint Adlai III or Dixon to jump as far ahead in the seniority line as we can, merely to make sure our next Senator doesn’t line up behind the 8 (or 9 if Franken is certified prior to swearing in) new Senators.

    As a Dem partisan, I do think the placeholder approach would be preferable to a special election, because it provides 2 years of distance from Blagojevich.

    You’re right that a few, and day by day fewer, dems are calling for a special election. This is consistent for Quinn, he’s always been willing to put good govt ahead of party. But I doubt many other Dems are going to do more than “call for” a special election.


  125. - Joshua - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 6:58 pm:

    Sorry, that last post wasn’t very clearly written, was also on the phone, apologies.

    I’m advocating picking someone who is good enough to be elected over and over again, someone who is young enough to hold the seat for a long time and become a player in the US Senate. And appointing early helps jump 8 or 9 spots in seniority.

    As a partisan, a placeholder is preferable to a special election, but picking someone good enough to stick around a while is certainly better than a placeholder.


  126. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 7:33 pm:

    Palos Bob,

    No way the R’s sign off on anyone other than a placeholder under your scheme. As Joshua points out, it’s in the D’s, and presumably IL’s, long term interests for the next gov to appoint someone with long term prospects ASAP. It’s in the R’s interests to have a special election, or at worst to have the next gov appoint a placeholder with no long term prospects. However, a special election might also help the D’s if they fielded a candidate with long term prospects who would win the SE. Where these interests do or don’t dovetail with the populace “at large” is part of the PR battle now going on.


  127. Pingback IL Special Election Joint Resolution? : Urbanagora - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 7:50 pm:

    […] As thinkers in Illinois debate ways to fill Obama’s seat, those calling for a special election have a big problem.  A current Illinois statute gives the Governor power to fill Senate vacancies. 10 ILCS 5/25‑8.  Passing a new state law to reverse the old one requires Governor Blagojevich to sign away his power.  And he doesn’t have to veto it, he can merely put it in a drawer and run out the clock on the Illinois General Assembly to kill the bill. […]


  128. - PalosParkBob - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:04 pm:

    Six degrees, there’s no dount in my mind that enough GOP votes coulc be found to build a supermajority.

    The only power the GOP has is perhaps to influence WHICH Dem gets elected.

    Look at it this way. If Radogno can be elected minority leader while her positions are contrary to virtually the entire GOP platform, do you think the GOP legislators wouldn’t support a moderate DEm for the seat?

    It would be good politics, and good government, if someone like Vallas could get the nomination.

    It would be difficult for the Dems to select someone to the left Judy Baar Topinka or Radogno!


  129. - Loyal Whig - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:18 pm:

    There is so much cynicism, special election is the only way to go.


  130. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:40 pm:

    Folks, we’re in the endgame with Blago. Let Quinn appoint on day one and let the 2010 election start the next day.


  131. - Justice - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 10:41 pm:

    A good senator, though a newbie, is who we need. I am an independent voter, like many today, and prefer the selection to be the option of the people. I understand the rule as it applies now but feel that we the people must take a more active role in selecting good leaders and not just party faithful or some hack that has been in the game for a while. As I recall, Durbin was once a freshman senator and has done fairly well over time. We get some good and some bad. Usually we get the bad because we don’t participate and let others do the selecting for us. It’s high time that folks start getting involved again and reclaiming our sense and position of greatness.


  132. - steve schnorf - Monday, Dec 29, 08 @ 11:49 pm:

    PPB, if you are serious in your comment that it would be difficult for the Dems to nominate someone to the left of JBT or Radogno, you are just plain silly. Take a look at the last person they nominated.


  133. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Dec 30, 08 @ 8:53 am:

    Political parties do not matter regarding this issue. What matters is restoring Illinoian’s faith in their political system. It has been destroyed. You people miss this point and you people should re-examine the basis of your arguments in light of this overwhelming need.

    Special election. Now.


  134. - Larry Mullholland - Tuesday, Dec 30, 08 @ 2:20 pm:

    Oh I see, according to Bobby Rush the only issue of importance is that an african american is seated.


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* Appellate court vacates ILRB ruling that AFSCME contract negotiations were at impasse
* Two Rauner interviews, two Rauner answers on migrant caravan
* Question of the day
* Erika Harold's "promiscuity" comments compel Sen. Lightford to share her story
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* Pritzker outspending Rauner on Facebook by more than 12 to 1
* Cook moves Bost race from "Toss Up" to "Lean R" as new poll shows growing lead
* Harold says she's not accountable to governor, president in new TV ad
* Rauner-funded candidate denies being "Rauner Rino"
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