Democratic Dinner Party Could Help Determine Next Leader

State Dems to Try Out New Leaders Over Wine, Pasta

By Steve Rhodes
|  Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008  |  Updated 3:30 PM CDT
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Democratic Dinner Party Could Help Determine Next Leader

Saputo's

State senate Dems will meet at this Italian restaurant to being picking their new leader.

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At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Democratic state senators are expected to gather at Saputo’s in Springfield to formally begin the process of picking their next leader.

One of the favorites to replace the retiring Emil Jones as senate president, John Cullerton, told Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight on Monday that Wednesday’s meeting would probably be limited to contenders making their pitches to colleagues, with no actual voting taking place.

Wine and beer are likely to be served.

Cullerton pitched himself to Marin as man who can bridge the gap between Gov. Rod Blagojevich and House Speaker (and the governor's blood enemy) Michael Madigan to finally break the gridlock in Springfield.

James Clayborne of Belleville, generally considered the other leading candidate, could not appear but is favored by some legislators because he would offset a "Chicago-centric state government."

Evanston senator Jeffery Schoenberg also appeared and said his bid for leadership would be premised on more transparency in the process. Both lawmakers pledged to return more power to their colleagues in terms of committee chairmanships and bringing bills to the floor.

Other frequently mentioned candidates include Terry Link and Don Harmon.

And for dinner? Get the smoked linguine. Apparently it's still available.

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