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December 31, 2008

Special election back on the table?

Legislation calling for a special election to fill Barack Obama’s Senate seat may be back on the table, even after disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich already attempted to fill the vacancy by picking Roland Burris.

Greg Hinz of Crain’s is reporting that state House Speaker Michael Madigan has quietly scheduled a committee hearing to take up a bill calling for a special election to name Obama’s successor. Madigan earlier shelved such legislation amid fears that Republicans would have a strong chance at picking up the seat in light of the Blagojevich scandal.

It’s a bit unclear whether a special election could even be considered until any resolution was reached on whether Burris will be seated in the Senate – a process that could take months. In addition, as long as Blagojevich remains in office, he would have the opportunity to veto such legislation.

Meanwhile, Republicans are still clamoring for a special election even with the Burris appointment. In an interview with the Associated Press, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated the Republican call for a special election.

UPDATE: Illinois Democrats have since canceled the scheduled committee hearing taking up the special election legislation.