How about a special election?

HOW ABOUT A SPECIAL ELECTION?…. I know very little about election law in Illinois, but Dick Durbin’s proposal sounds like a common-sense move.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday he wants a special election called to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

At a press conference with reporters on Capitol Hill, Durbin said he wants the Illinois legislature to act quickly to pass a law setting a special election in light of news Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been charged with seeking financial gain over the appointment.

Currently Blagojevich has the sole authority to select Obama’s successor, and is still able to do so unless he resigns or is impeached from office.

“No appointment by this governor under these circumstances could produce a credible replacement,” Durbin said.

Now, if Blagojevich resigns or is impeached and removed from office, this may seem like a moot point, since Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) would assume the office and fill the Senate vacancy.

But Durbin’s recommendation for a special-election process is a good one anyway. As Sam Boyd noted, “It works for House seats everywhere and Senate seats in some other states. It would prevent Blagojevich-style shenanigans (and more prosaic political horse-trading) and simply be a more democratic and transparent process — something Illinois very much needs.”

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.