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December 16, 2008

Illinois special election looks less likely

Looks like Illinois Democrats are moving away from holding a special election in 2009 to fill Obama's vacant Senate seat:

Democrats in the Senate shelved action on a special election to fill Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat, for now leaving the decision in Blagojevich's hands.

"We ought to move as quickly as possible to correct our problems and to get ourselves on a track where we can do what we're supposed to do for the people of Illinois," said House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat and former co-chairman of Blagojevich's re-election campaign who has become one of the governor's fiercest critics.

Madigan canceled plans to consider a special election to replace Obama in the Senate because he said Democrats are split over the best way to fill the vacancy. Opponents of a special election cite its cost. Republicans harshly criticized leaving the power to appoint a senator in Blagojevich's hands.

"Why is it, when the whole world is watching, you can't change your ways at least for one day and let democracy rule?" said Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Greenville.

A Blagojevich spokesman said Monday the governor has not ruled out signing a bill to hold a special election to fill the seat. That was the first hint the embattled governor may loosen his grip on the position. Still, he continued his hold on the office, signing 11 bills, including one referenced on wiretaps in the criminal complaint against him.