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.