Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Battle on to succeed Barack Obama -- still wistful thinking

The fight is already brewing to replace U.S. Senator Barack Obama in the Senate IF he wins the Democratic race this November. Gov. Rod Blagojevich would most likely be the person to name the successor, who would then seek election in a special election bid.

My choice for a successor is Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. He has proven himself to be independent, concerned about people not politics, and very talented. His speech to the Democratic National Convention was overshadowed only by the Clinto-Obama battle which despite the hopefuly media pundits is still pitched and energized.

Ray Hanania


Illinois Dems Keep Quiet On Possible Senate Vacancy
by Ben Schneider
Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008

The next junior senator from Illinois might have been walking in their midst this morning, but attendees at the state delegation's breakfast meeting were careful not to put the cart before the horse.

Lawmakers, candidates and other home state colleagues of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois were in agreement about the agenda -- put Obama in the White House first, and then talk in earnest about a possible successor. "There are people who are out there that are looking for that appointment," said Rep. Dan Lipinski, noting that a vacant Senate seat would be chosen by Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He quickly said he was not among them.

"I think it's best not to really talk about it," Lipinski said. "We know this isn't going to be an easy election."

While they might be skittish or superstitious, there is a long political tradition that names of potential candidates tend to float well ahead of an actual vacancy, and this case is no exception.

Among those mentioned as possible candidates are Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez and Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth, who fell just short in a bid for a House seat in 2006. Blagojevich, a former member of Congress, is also mentioned, and he wouldn't be the first governor to appoint himself to the Senate.

Jackson is a co-chairman of Obama's campaign. He could not only replace Obama in the Illinois delegation, but as the only black member of the Senate, a factor that might play into the governor's decision.

Duckworth, a disabled veteran of the Iraq war is a moderate. Blagojevich has not only mentioned her as a possible successor to Obama but is sponsoring a reception for her tonight in Denver.

But while others might be floating her name as a trial balloon, Duckworth is not yet on board, choosing to keep her focus on getting a Democrat elected president, albeit one that might create a job opening for her. "We have a long 70 days in front of us," she said this morning.

Gutierrez and Schakowsky both said they would be honored to serve in the Senate, but also played down interest in the post. "I didn't wake up this morning thinking about it," Gutierrez said.

Jill Morgenthaler, who is running for a House seat, said it didn't matter to her who got the Senate job if Obama moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., "as long as it's a Democrat."

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