Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s political machine and its cronies in Illinois will likely move to prevent Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn from filling Barack Obama’s Senate seat if Quinn replaces Gov. Rod Blagojevich in office.
That’s the view of Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, who observes that Quinn is a populist reformer who has already taken steps to shake up the status quo in a state where four governors have been indicted on corruption charges in the last 35 years.
Blagojevich was arrested on Tuesday and accused of scheming to enrich himself by selling Obama's vacant Senate seat, and Quinn would replace him if he resigns or is removed from office.
Tax attorney Quinn, who has been in his present post for six years, first came into public view in the late 1970s when he backed an unsuccessful move to give voters the power to enact laws by initiative.
He later backed a measure to limit the terms of elected officials in Illinois, which also was unsuccessful.
And this year, Quinn led an effort to give voters in the state the right to recall elected officials.
“By all accounts, he is a populist reformer, fiscally conservative for a Democrat and, refreshingly, an honest man,” Fund writes.
“Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise anyone, then, that the state’s power brokers are moving quickly to strip the governor’s office, and thus potentially Mr. Quinn, of the power to fill Mr. Obama’s Senate seat.”
Instead, they want a special election in which the Daley machine “would have an outsized influence,” according to Fund, who adds: “Their real motivation may be to prevent Mr. Quinn from naming a fellow reformer they can’t control.”
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