News & Election Videos

December 11, 2008

Special election losing steam?

The likelihood of a special election taking place to fill Barack Obama’s Senate seat has dimmed, after lieutenant governor Pat Quinn indicated today that an impeachment process could occur fairly quickly, which would allow him to fill the Senate seat quickly and more cheaply.

From the AP:

Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn says that if he's made governor, he may opt to appoint President-elect Barack Obama's Senate replacement rather than wait for a special election.

Speaking on NBC's Today show Thursday, Quinn said he's generally in favor of letting voters choose public officials. But he says that the economic crisis makes it vital for the state to have two senators in place.

Quinn says if embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich doesn't resign it won't be long before he's either impeached or Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asks the state Supreme Court to declare him unable to serve.

Some Illinois Democrats expressed concern that impeachment hearings could become a drawn-out, lengthy process. Those concerns prompted Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin to propose a special election, a suggestion that was embraced by the state’s Democratic legislative leadership.

Democrats, though, would risk losing the Senate seat with an election so close to Blagojevich’s indictment. And the state would prefer to spend the $50 million necessary to hold a statewide election on other things, particularly during an economic downturn.