Big news in the Illinois senate destruction derby. William Daley, the Clinton-era Commerce Secretary and brother to Chicago mayor Richard Daley, has opted not to get into the race after all:
It’s over: “I was gung-ho, and hired pollsters and talked to fund-raisers and planned to make an announcement in mid-April,” Daley told Sneed yesterday. “But I’m getting remarried in June and decided I want to take a new tack in my life. I just don’t want to live a commuter life back and forth from Washington.”
Hmmm. Maybe he didn’t like what the pollsters were telling him, or more likely, he didn’t like what he was in his wallet, compared with the $1.1 million that treasurer Alexi Giannoulias pulled down in the first quarter. Still, with the full force of the legendary Daley machine behind him, he would have presented Giannoulias with a formidable challenge… maybe enough of a challenge to outright win, or more ominously, enough of a challenge for him and Giannoulias to punch each other out and accidentally allow Roland Burris, on the strength of African-American votes, to win the primary.
With Daley out, a one-on-one contest between (Friend of Barack) Giannoulias, and Roland Burris and his $845, seems like no contest whatsoever. But now Daley bailing out (and Burris’s increasingly apparent ineptitude) raises the question of whether someone else gets in. Rep. Jan Schakowsky is certainly interested in the senate seat but seems loath to leave her safe house seat; a likelier possibility may in fact be Rep. Danny Davis, who has been urging Burris to get out of the way and may now see more of an opening for himself now that it looks like Burris may not even have much of a foothold on the African-American vote.
Illinois governor Pat Quinn is pushing the idea of a special election to fill in the Illinois senate seat… the one that Roland Burris is currently occupying and doesn’t seem to be moving to relinquish. This wouldn’t be a recall election (recall power doesn’t exist at the federal level), but rather an end-run that would apparently clarify that Burris’s appointment lasts until any next election (not just the next federal election), and then set an election date much sooner than 2010. Sounds a little legally questionable to me, but AG Lisa Madigan seems to think it’s copacetic:
Quinn, appearing on “The Steve Cochran Show” on WGN-AM (720), said he spoke to the top two Democrats in the General Assembly today about the possibility of moving ahead with the legislation, which would take advantage of a clause contained in the U.S. Constitution’s 17th Amendment.
Quinn’s actions follow a legal opinion issued last night by Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan who said she believed the state could enact a special-election law that would effectively force Burris from office. Under the Constitution, a governor’s appointments to fill Senate vacancies should be considered temporary until an election is held, she said.
Even if it’s legal, though, the question of the price tag may prevent it from going through. Estimates of up to $50 million to hold a special election may throw cold water on the idea.
Regardless of whether there’s a special election soon or a long march till 2010, one more interested Democratic contender for the Senate has popped out of the woodwork today: William Daley. He plans to make his announcement in mid-April. Daley is the former Clinton-era Commerce Secretary, and perhaps more significantly, brother to Chicago mayor Richard Daley. Hmmm, I wonder which candidate the Daley machine will get behind?