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December 11, 2008

GOP demands special election for Obama seat

Republicans believe they were handed a gift when Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin yesterday called for the Illinois legislature to pass legislation as soon as possible calling for a special election.

Prominent Republicans, including Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan and incoming NRSC chairman John Cornyn, have echoed Durbin’s call and have suggested any appointment -- even from lieutenant governor Pat Quinn -- would be tainted.

And, as I report, the latest voice urging a special election be held is Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), the likely Republican frontrunner if a special election is held:

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said Thursday that he is “looking very hard” at running for Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat and urged the political leadership in Illinois to hold a special election to fill the vacancy rather than allow a gubernatorial appointment.

In an interview with Politico, Kirk said he was concerned that the state legislature was moving away from its original plan to pass legislation calling for a special election.

Lieutenant governor Pat Quinn, who would succeed Gov. Rod Blagojevich if he resigned, said Thursday that, if he becomes governor, he’d rather appoint Obama's replacement than wait for a special election.

Kirk said he would not be satisfied if Quinn filled the vacancy.

“At this point, everyone is tainted. In order to restore the trust of the people of Illinois in their representatives, this decision should not be made by people connected to a corrupt government,” said Kirk.

“We should return this seat to the people who own it – not the corrupt government. In this state, trust has been broken between the state of Illinois and its people.”