Illinois Republican demands special election rather than appointment

posted at 11:12 am on December 12, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The leading Republican in Illinois state government drew a line in the sand in the debate over the open Senate seat that led Governor Rod Blagojevich into a pay-to-play scandal that resulted in his arrest.  Christine Radogno, the president-elect of the state Senate and the highest-ranking Republican in Illinois, flatly rejected Lt. Governor Pat Quinn’s statement that he would appoint Barack Obama’s replacement if Blagojevich got impeached or resigned:

IL Senate Republican Leader-Elect Christine Radogno released a statement today suggesting that IL Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn’s assertion that he could appoint a replacement senator if Gov. Rod Blagojevich resigns is “ludicrous.”

“It is ludicrous to talk about anyone appointing the next United States Senator,” Radogno said. “This decision absolutely must be made by the voters of Illinois. The only way to do that is to establish a Special Election that puts the power where it belongs — in the hands of Illinois citizens.”

“There is no way that an appointment process can be free from the stench of this corrupt Administration,” she added.

A special election would not necessarily produce extra cost for Illinois voters, either.  Municipal elections take place in February and April.  Primary elections could take place in February and a general election in April, piggybacking on existing elections and still giving plenty of time for candidates to commence their campaigns.

Radogno makes a good point about the credibility of any appointment coming from the present government in Illinois.  Quinn and Blagojevich didn’t get along, politically or personally, but the problem is that the federal government has two separate probes of Illinois governance that may wind up involving the very people whom Quinn or Blagojevich would appoint.  Also, the people in government that are advising Quinn may well wind up on wiretaps as well.

The point Radogno makes is that citizens of Illinois have no reason to trust their elected officials, especially in the executive.  The citizens should make the decision on who to represent them, and directly rather than through their representative body.  The delay in filling the seat is not terribly long; it will remain open for a little more than three months by the time an election finishes.


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That seat if too bleepin’ valuable to be left to the voters to fill.

forest on December 12, 2008 at 11:17 AM

The only appointment that could be made without stain or question would be Republican or Independent. Any democrat being appointed will be stained by doubt, question, and scandal- whether involved or not.

And, let me add, I do not think Blagjoveich should resign. He make them force him out via impeachment-and disprove the media’s portrayal that he is somehow mentally impaired.

http://conservativepolitics.today.com/2008/12/12/blagjoveich-should-not-resign/

Virginia Shanahan on December 12, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Uh, this is old news and it isn’t even this woman’s idea. Unless you ignore all the people calling for a special election earlier this week.

bayam on December 12, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Patrick Fitzgerald for Senate: He won’t have a job after January 20.

Steve Z on December 12, 2008 at 11:20 AM

This is the logical solution, Voters of Illinois should auction off their votes as well since this is a commodity and all.

Let each candidate bid $$$ for your one vote, high bidder wins!

jp on December 12, 2008 at 11:21 AM

The Rs smell a Senate seat pickup. This would be a major boost for the state party after years of mismanagement, culminating in the Jack Ryan/ Krazy Keyes Senate debacle.

Illinidiva on December 12, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Seems like the right thing to do….since we’ve already ruined the original process of selecting US senators.

LimeyGeek on December 12, 2008 at 11:23 AM

You know, states would probably be best served to start moving away from this model of allowing governors to appoint replacements to fill vacant Senate positions. There is just too much room for this kind of corruption. After Frank Murkowski was elected Governer of Alaska he appointed his daughter to fill his vacant Senate post. That nepotism pissed off Alaskans enough that they changed the law to prevent governors from being able to fill seats by appointment. That’s why Sarah Palin wouldn’t have been able to replace Ted Stevens if he had won re-election and then resigned or been kicked out of the Senate.

I think the special election route is a good way to go.

t.ferg on December 12, 2008 at 11:25 AM

What do voters know!! They elected Obama & Blago.

izoneguy on December 12, 2008 at 11:25 AM

It’s the only fair way to proceed.

tarpon on December 12, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Uh, this is old news and it isn’t even this woman’s idea. Unless you ignore all the people calling for a special election earlier this week.

bayam on December 12, 2008 at 11:20 AM

The Lt.Gov said he’d make the appointment long enough ago to make yesterday’s rejection of his proposal old news?

James on December 12, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Uh, this is old news and it isn’t even this woman’s idea. Unless you ignore all the people calling for a special election earlier this week.

bayam on December 12, 2008 at 11:20 AM

True Dick Durbin said the same thing, but this was done in non-coordinated panic mode, when the biggest fear was how Blogo’s status as governor and his ability to still name Obama’s successor would play in the public. Now that everyone’s had a chance to strategerize about how to handle the situation, the Democrats’ default position seems to be that an open election with the scandals unfolding could give the seat to the Republicans, so let’s have Quinn make the appointment and keep the seat in ‘D’ hands (I haven’t heard Durbin do a 180 on his initial statement yet, but if it comes before the weekend’s out, I wouldn’t be surprised).

jon1979 on December 12, 2008 at 11:31 AM

If the law says the Governor appoints the successor, then the Governor should do so.

jim m on December 12, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Lt.Gov : “This is *#¤*ing golden”..

the_nile on December 12, 2008 at 11:32 AM

That is a fine sentiment for her, but that is all it is. For now it is up to Blago, and him alone, to decide.

For better or worse, Blago is the governor. He is innocent until proven guilty. If he actually makes an appointment, could we prove that it was the result of a bribe? Saying you are willing to take bribes is not the same thing as being bribed.

Do we want to set a precedent of not allowing a governor to exercise his prerogatives? Charges can be trumped up. I don’t think we want to go there.

Elect a scoundrel and behold, you have a scoundrel. Yes, I guess character does matter after all.

Amphipolis on December 12, 2008 at 11:34 AM

She has bigger onions than McCain, Bush, and the RNC put together.

Let’s roll.

ex-Democrat on December 12, 2008 at 11:35 AM

That is a fine sentiment for her, but that is all it is. For now it is up to Blago, and him alone, to decide.

For better or worse, Blago is the governor. He is innocent until proven guilty. If he actually makes an appointment, could we prove that it was the result of a bribe? Saying you are willing to take bribes is not the same thing as being bribed.

Do we want to set a precedent of not allowing a governor to exercise his prerogatives? Charges can be trumped up. I don’t think we want to go there.

Elect a scoundrel and behold, you have a scoundrel. Yes, I guess character does matter after all.

Amphipolis on December 12, 2008 at 11:34 AM

Rod, is that bleeping you??

Illinidiva on December 12, 2008 at 11:36 AM

If the law says the Governor appoints the successor, then the Governor should do so.

jim m on December 12, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Even if the gov. is indicted? Quinn could provide some distance, but not enough to give the appointment the appearance of integrity. As to what the law says… well, writing a new law is within the legislature’s job description.

cs89 on December 12, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Uh, this is old news and it isn’t even this woman’s idea. Unless you ignore all the people calling for a special election earlier this week.

bayam on December 12, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Was that on your fax machine this morning?

“old news”
“isn’t even her idea”

Axelrod must be distracted.

Let’s roll.

ex-Democrat on December 12, 2008 at 11:38 AM

If the law says the Governor appoints the successor, then the Governor should do so.

jim m on December 12, 2008 at 11:31 AM

From behind bars?

Esthier on December 12, 2008 at 11:39 AM

She’s jumping on the bandwagon, but it’s the right thing to do. They can make it “bi-partisan”. There is no reason to believe that the stupidity of the Illinois voters and their affection for the rot that is the Chicago Political Machine won’t result in another crooked politician from Chicago. But there is hope. Maybe Ditka would step up? While I don’t think he’d be an ideal candidate, he is a bright person and I’m tired of politicians running the country into the ground anyway.

Webrider on December 12, 2008 at 11:42 AM

I can’t imagine any Dem wanting this job via an appointment. Way too much stink surrounding it…even for Chicago. So an election is probably going to happen, but not because of Republican demands.

As to whether Republicans can win….anything is possible I suppose. Only chance Reps have is if only people registered on Nov 4th can vote. Otherwise ACORN will register 250,000 new voters, of whom 249,999 will vote Dem.

angryed on December 12, 2008 at 11:42 AM

No special election is going to happen. Here is what is going to happen:

Blago will be impeached. He will NOT resign. He will remain in office long enough for the state to pay all his legal expenses. The state legislature, all controlled by the Outfit, will drag their feet on procedural matters long enough that Governor Dondi can pre-pay millions in legal fees with state money.

Blago will NOT roll over for the feds. After the very public threat from Da Mayor (Daley) the other day (“He shd’ do da right thing. He shd’ do da right thing”), the message was clear – roll over to prosecutors and you’ll need the federal witness protection plan to stay above ground. He wants to slide into a role like Fast Eddie Vrdolyak – elder statesman, corrupt lawyer, talking head – and you can’t do that if you’re a hardware store owner in Keokuk.

Blago’s chief of staff, however – they have a chance of rolling him, and he knows where the bodies are buried.

However, back to the matter at hand – when Blago is finally impeached, Pat Quinn will name HIMSELF as Obama’s replacement. That gets him out of Illinois and on the path Blago wanted for himself.

Then the state will install corrupt & Connected state’s attorney Lisa Madigan as governor, and the Outfit will go back to controlling the state, like it always has.

playblu on December 12, 2008 at 11:44 AM

While the Illinois Republics hope for a special election, i’m pinning my hopes on Angelina Jolie rejecting that Pitt clown and returning my calls for a dinner date.

notagool on December 12, 2008 at 11:48 AM

For better or worse, Blago is the governor. He is innocent until proven guilty. If he actually makes an appointment, could we prove that it was the result of a bribe? Saying you are willing to take bribes is not the same thing as being bribed.

Yes, technically he still has the legal authority to make the appointment. However, Harry Reid says the US Senate will refuse to seat anyone appointed by Blagojevich which pretty much holds the governor’s appointing authority hostage.

t.ferg on December 12, 2008 at 11:49 AM

As far as impeachment goes, I would thing Blago has enough dirt on members of the legislature that he can probably keep them at bay. If he threatans expose their dirt they’ll make a big show of doing something for PR reasons but then find some techicality to prevent them from going through with it.

t.ferg on December 12, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Patty Blagojevich was asked about her views on Radogno’s opinion that the Senate seat selection should be left to the voters. Patty said:

“Those fu^king mongoloids have no motherfu&*ing idea who to vote for. If that dum%ass f$ck husband of mine had kept his god^%mn mouth shut that bi%ch would get no fu^%ing press. Who does her fu*king hair, anyway?”

grdred944 on December 12, 2008 at 11:52 AM

I think Illinois should just stop having elections altogether. It’s kind of a waste of money to have all these people voting, and the machine just has to spend time falisfying votes to overcome them.

Vashta.Nerada on December 12, 2008 at 11:52 AM

playblu on December 12, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Blago will start squealing about everyone as soon as he realizes that not doing so means fifteen to twenty years with murderers and rapists in Joliet rather than five years as George Ryan’s bunkmate at the federal country club in Terre Haute. Some very senior alderman and Chicago officials and the Jackson crime family will probably get taken down with him. He’ll also make accusations about Daley and Obama, but Daley is too good at being corrupt to get taken down and Obama probably did some unethical, but not illegal things.

Illinidiva on December 12, 2008 at 11:55 AM

For better or worse, Blago is the governor. He is innocent until proven guilty. If he actually makes an appointment, could we prove that it was the result of a bribe? Saying you are willing to take bribes is not the same thing as being bribed.

Amphipolis on December 12, 2008 at 11:34 AM

There’s a difference between legally guilty and appearing guilty. If he appoints someone, it won’t matter even if he’s cleared, public opinion will be against him and his appointment.

Esthier on December 12, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Patty Blagojevich was asked about her views on Radogno’s opinion that the Senate seat selection should be left to the voters. Patty said:

“Those fu^king mongoloids have no motherfu&*ing idea who to vote for. If that dum%ass f$ck husband of mine had kept his god^%mn mouth shut that bi%ch would get no fu^%ing press. Who does her fu*king hair, anyway?”

grdred944 on December 12, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Actually, all Patty has to do now is learn to chew tobacco and scratch and she can then qualify to manage the Chicago Cubs.

pilamaye on December 12, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Aren’t there any Kennedys living in Illinois?

Kafir on December 12, 2008 at 12:01 PM

what a preposterous notion, the idea of a representative of the people being elected by you know the people…..

never fly in Illinoisastan.

sven10077 on December 12, 2008 at 12:07 PM

The delay in filling the seat is not terribly long; it will remain open for a little more than three months by the time an election finishes.

That’s three months of a slightly smaller Dem majority, which is a plus.

jgapinoy on December 12, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Uh, this is old news and it isn’t even this woman’s idea. Unless you ignore all the people calling for a special election earlier this week.

bayam on December 12, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Where did anyone say it was?

Thi story is important because it is coming from the “president-elect of the state Senate and the highest-ranking Republican in Illinois.”

Shouldn’t every open seat be subject to an election, rather than an appointment.

rbj on December 12, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Look, the law is the law. The Dems could be nice but they only have to do what is required. The Gov may not be the governor much longer, anyways, depending on what the Illinois laws are, but as long as B is still the legal governor, he can apparently appoint whoever he wants.

[I think Ryan, a Repub, continued to act as Governor after his indictment, didn't he?]

jim m on December 12, 2008 at 12:33 PM

The Rs smell a Senate seat pickup. This would be a major boost for the state party after years of mismanagement, culminating in the Jack Ryan/ Krazy Keyes Senate debacle.

Illinidiva on December 12, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Agreed, and still hard to imagine. Our current electorate makes Massachussetts look like Wyoming.

Jaibones on December 12, 2008 at 12:35 PM

The states that I am familiar with, the Gov. only gets to appoint a replacement only in the case where there is just a few months left in the term. In other cases, the Gov. appoints a caretaker to the seat until a special election can be called. In some cases the caretaker can run for the seat if he wants, in other cases he can’t.

Isn’t allowing the governor to appoint with two years left in the term kinda of unusual these days?

MarkTheGreat on December 12, 2008 at 12:49 PM

the law is the law. The Dems could be nice but they only have to do what is required. The Gov may not be the governor much longer, anyways, depending on what the Illinois laws are, but as long as B is still the legal governor, he can apparently appoint whoever he wants.

[I think Ryan, a Repub, continued to act as Governor after his indictment, didn't he?]

jim m on December 12, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Ryan was out of office by the time he was indicted, but he was under investigation at the tail end of adminstration. He offered all the inmates on IL Death Row clemency in order to muddy the waters.

Illinidiva on December 12, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Look, the law is the law. The Dems could be nice but they only have to do what is required. The Gov may not be the governor much longer, anyways, depending on what the Illinois laws are, but as long as B is still the legal governor, he can apparently appoint whoever he wants.

[I think Ryan, a Repub, continued to act as Governor after his indictment, didn't he?]

jim m on December 12, 2008 at 12:33 PM

The law is there to protect the citizens. If it is found that the officials cannot perform their duties that they have been sworn to, then a special election is one of the options.
The voters have a right to select the person to represent them…

right2bright on December 12, 2008 at 1:06 PM

The democrats will never allow an election–they will appoint another Obama or Teddy Kennedy clone. Why doesn’t Governor Blago just appoint his wife Patti now–the legal turmoil would be great, and it would be legal.
***
Possibly he could appoint Michelle Obama–the family that governs together (in both the executive and legislative branches) would be a real twofer. Let’s see what congress would do with this one.
***
John Bibb

rocketman on December 12, 2008 at 1:25 PM

The only appointment that could be made without stain or question would be Republican or Independent. Any democrat being appointed will be stained by doubt, question, and scandal- whether involved or not.

And, let me add, I do not think Blagjoveich should resign. He make them force him out via impeachment-and disprove the media’s portrayal that he is somehow mentally impaired.

http://conservativepolitics.today.com/2008/12/12/blagjoveich-should-not-resign/

Virginia Shanahan on December 12, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Umm so there have never been Republicans who were corrupt? And should we also force ALL other states to stop letting Governors appoint an empty senate seat?

What a horse.

A Axe on December 12, 2008 at 1:34 PM

The leading Republican in Illinois state government drew a line in the sand in the debate over the open Senate seat that led Governor Rod Blagojevich into a pay-to-play scandal that resulted in his arrest.

In other words.. it’s a sure bet that a Democrat will be appointed.

DaveC on December 12, 2008 at 1:45 PM

I contacted both my state senator, and representative and told them “Election, not Selection”.
I don’t care who the next govenor is!

thegeneral on December 12, 2008 at 2:01 PM

Exactly, Ed.

Frankly, it would be nice if Illinois sent a Republican senator up…

HotAirJosef on December 12, 2008 at 2:04 PM

I feel the same way here as I do regarding the recount in Minnesota.

It probably is better to have a special election; however, what’s important is what’s on the books now. I’m all for making a case for changing the law for next time, but you don’t change the rules in the middle of the game.

If both sides feel that the taint of the current situation necessitates a special election, that’s fine. However, if they want to follow the rules on the books, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

JadeNYU on December 12, 2008 at 4:41 PM

t.ferg -

Reid has no basis to block an appointment. The only precedent is due to disputed elections. There is no question who is governor.

The voters of Illinois have made their bed.

Amphipolis on December 13, 2008 at 9:58 PM