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November 06, 2008

Big-name Emanuel successor?

With Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) tapped as Barack Obama’s chief of staff, there will be a crowded field of Democrats looking to succeed him in Congress.

One potential name stands out: Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, a well-known, reform-minded Chicagoland politician who has been a longtime ally of Emanuel’s. He is a former consulting partner with Obama’s political adviser, David Axelrod, and is close with Obama as well.

Claypool’s name has also been mentioned as a possible appointee to fill Obama’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat but he has publicly ruled out that possibility.

Another Cook County commissioner, Mike Quigley, told the Chicago Tribune that he is likely to run for the seat.  And state Rep.-elect Deborah Mell, the sister-in-law of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.), has also expressed interest in running.

Once Emanuel formally steps down, Blagojevich would have to set special election days within five days of the resignation. It would be the second Illinois special election in as many years: Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) won the seat of former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert last February.