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RealClearPolitics Politics Nation Blog

 

Blog Home Page --> House -- Illinois -- 05

Blago: Rahm Wanted My Help Holding House Seat

Consider the source, as they say. And as we see in the case of Tom Ridge, anyone promoting a new book needs to toss out a few attention-grabbing claims.

But former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) claims in his forthcoming book that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel sought his help in potentially orchestrating a return to the House of Representatives.

AP reports:

Blagojevich says Emanuel was interested in his own career because he had to give up his congressional seat to work in Obama's White House. Blagojevich writes that Emanuel dreamed of being speaker of the U.S. House and wanted to know if Blagojevich would work with him to name a successor to "hold" his seat until he wanted it back.

Blagojevich says he told Emanuel he didn't think he could do that and the House vacancy would have to be filled by special election. But Emanuel reportedly told him "his lawyers thought there was a way."

"As we have done for many months, we will continue to decline comment," Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said in an e-mail Monday.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was also asked about this at today's briefing, but declined to comment on the claim of the "indicted former governor," as he put it. Meanwhile, it's safe to say that new Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) probably hopes to keep his seat for the foreseeable future.

AP goes on to report that Blagojevich sought to appoint Attorney General Lisa Madigan to President Obama's former Senate seat "because he hoped to cut a deal on pet projects with her father, powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan."

IL-5: Quigley Wins Special Election

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley (D) was declared the winner tonight of the special election to replace Rahm Emanuel as representative of Illinois's 5th Congressional District. With two-thirds of precincts reporting by 9 p.m. ET, 70 percent had chosen Quigley, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Quigley's place in Congress was all but confirmed when he won the Democratic primary last month. President Obama won the district with 73 percent of the vote.

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine released a statement shortly after the Associated Press had called the race for Quigley:

"I'm honored to congratulate Mike Quigley on his election to the United States House of Representatives where he will be another ally of President Obama's in the effort to rebuild our economy and bring change to Washington. Mike's record of service as Cook County Commissioner and his dedication to fiscal responsibility and government reform have more than prepared him to take on the challenges we face today. Mike will be a tireless advocate for the people of Illinois' fifth congressional district, and I look forward to working alongside him to help secure legislation that supports President Obama's vision for our country."

Quigley Likely Winner In IL-05 Primary

With most of the votes counted in the Illinois 5th, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley holds what his campaign now calls a "virtually insurmountable" lead in the Democratic primary. The nomination is tantamount to victory in the heavily-Dem district.

With 85% of the precincts reporting as of 9 pm CST, here's how the vote stacks up:

Mike Quigley         10,390     22%
John Fritchey         8,079     17%
Sara Feigenholtz      7,984     17%

A release from the Quigley campaign, though short of declaring victory, points out that the candidate was outspent all of his opponents by a 5-to-1 margin, $3 million to $550,000.

Quigley will face the Republican nominee on April 7 before he can officially take Rahm Emanuel's (and Rod Blagojevich's) old seat.

Democratic House Candidate Calls For Burris To Resign

Rod Blagojevich once represented Illinois 5th Congressional District, before being elected governor six years ago. In a sign of just how much the disgraced former governor has been an issue in the race to replace Rahm Emanuel, there's this new statement from Democratic candidate Mike Quigley, a Cook County Commissioner, calling for Sen. Roland Burris to resign immediately.

From his statement:

"Roland Burris' failure to be honest and upfront with the people of Illinois should disqualify him from service in the United States Senate.

"He should resign, immediately.

"The Illinois legislature should work with Governor Quinn to pass legislation immediately setting up a special election empowering the people of Illinois to have a voice in this matter and allowing us all to finally turn the page on this sad chapter in Illinois' politics."

Tonight, the Senate Ethics Committee opened a preliminary hearing to look at Burris' ever-evolving statements about his interaction with Blagojevich advisers before the Senate appointment. Illinois Republicans have been calling for his resignation all week, but Quigley is one of the first Democrats to do so. His fellow candidates in the crowded field will likely follow suit now, though.

Quigley also today picked up the Chicago Tribune endorsement. Quigley, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey have split the top endorsements and raised the most money. The primary is March 3.