Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Special Election Likely, though Candidates Unclear

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It's looking more likely that Illinois voters will be voting twice in the upcoming election for a United States Senator, and Sen. Roland Burris wants in on the action.

    Though Roland Burris was appointed a replacement for Barack Obama, a federal appeals court has ordered a special election to pick someone to serve the remaining weeks of the president's term and another would pick a person to serve a full six-year term.

    Judge John Grady, who recently had back surgery and conducted a hearing via speakerphone, said his preference would be to have the state central committees pick the candidates.  The state, represented by Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office, opposes that idea, claiming it edges out independent candidates.

    There was an agreement in the works that the candidates on the November ballot -- Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias, as well as any independent candidates -- be on the ballot for the special election, but Burris is arguing that is not fair.

    "We oppose it," Burris' lawyer, Tim Wright, said after Monday's hearing, believing the agreement "potentially violates Constitutional Rights."

    Ten days ago, Burris was clear that he would run if there were a special election to finish out the term.

    The matter is in court because a lawsuit was filed over Gov. Pat Quinn's failure to schedule a special election for the Senate seat
    Burris was appointed to by Rod Blagojevich.

    Grady said he'd have another hearing on Thursday for what's shaping up to be two Senate elections on Nov. 2.