Monday, July 27, 2009

The Blagojevich Ripple Effect

Today WAYLA reports on local politics from Illinois.

To appreciate the full magnitude of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s scandal and impeachment, one must see just how big of a stir he’s created in his state’s political scene.

With his attempt to sell President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat and his subsequent removal from office, he is leaving at least 15 seats potentially open for intense battles across the state - including the Governor’s office, the U.S. Senate seat and a plethora of State Senate, State House, and local seats as well.

To get an idea of what’s happening, let’s first look at his seat.

On the Democratic side alone, he’s left his former Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn vulnerable to a probable primary challenger, State Comptroller Dan Hynes. Right there we see both the Lt. Governor’s office open up, as well as the State Comptroller’s. Looking to move up the political ladder, Democratic State Representatives Arthur Turner, Mike Boland, and David Miller have all suggested they might run for higher office in 2010.

The full chart of the contenders coming as a result of the gubernatorial race is far too large to complete.

On the GOP side, two State Senators and two local government leaders have at least hinted at seeking these two statewide offices.

Then there’s the U.S. Senate seat, where the Blagojevich-appointed incumbent, Roland Burris, will not seek an election. The seat has already attracted State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias to leave his post, and he may be joined by other Democrats soon, such as Chris Kennedy (son of RFK) and Urban League President Cheryle Jackson.

With the Treasurer spot open, Democrats Kip Kirkpatrick and Robin Kelly (the second-in-command) appear to be seeking the post. Meanwhile, GOP State Sen. Dan Rutherford will leave his seat open to do the same.

On the Republican side of the Senatorial race, the much-talked about U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) will be vacating his seat for a GOP primary against three others, including Eric Wallace and former Judge Don Lowery. Vying to replace Kirk: on the Democratic side will be former candidate Dan Seals, State Sen. Michael Bonds, and State Rep. Julie Hamos. Two businessmen will fight for the GOP nomination.

The only sign of stability after 2010 is the Attorney General spot. Incumbent AG Lisa Madigan (D-IL) was encouraged by many supporters to seek either the Governor’s mansion or the Senate seat. In the end she decided to seek re-election where she is.

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