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How Illinois Senate special (and surprise) election will work

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WASHINGTON--Illinois voters will vote twice for Senate on Nov. 2 and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk will be on the ballot twice--for a term of a few weeks to fill out what was left of President Obama's term--and for the regular six year term. Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) not pleased a federal judge in Chicago ruled that only the candidates already on the ballot for the November election will be on the special ballot.

Yes, that means no primary. Click below for Sun-Times political writer Abdon Pallasch's story.

Click here for links to my columns and posts about the Illinois Senate double header.

BY ABDON M. PALLASCH
Sun-Times Political Reporter

CHICAGO--Whoever qualifies to run for the U.S. Senate in Illinois also qualifies to run for the special election.

That's the final decision U.S. District Judge John Grady made today. He had toyed with letting party leaders pick the candidates but he opted for the less confusing route.

That means Rep. Mark Kirk with be the Republican candidate. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias will be Democrat. LeAlan Jones will be the Green Party candidate.

Eight other independent or smaller-party candidates are struggling to overcome ballot challenges to remain on the ballot. If they survive, they will be candidates for both the six-year and six-week terms.

Grady said the state Board of Elections must certify a winner in the race by Nov. 24, though they could do it even earlier, giving the winner of the special election an even bigger head start.

The loser in today's hearing was Appointed Sen. Roland Burris. Burris' attorney argued that he should have a chance to serve out the last six weeks of his appointed term.

Lawyers who brought the lawsuit seeking the special election said the people of Illinois, not the former governor, should select a senator to replace President Obama. But by the time the courts accepted that argument, the earliest a special election could be scheduled was Nov. 2 -- Election Day.

The net effect of Grady's ruling is that whoever wins the Nov. 2 election for U.S. Senate -- presuming voters pick the same choice in both elections -- will take office six weeks earlier, gaining more seniority than the other new senators elected around the country that day who will not take office until Jan. 3.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 29, 2010 9:05 PM.

Democrat Scott Harper Illinois House 13 campaign sees promise in poll. was the previous entry in this blog.

Rep. Judy Biggert Illinois House 13th district poll puts her in lead is the next entry in this blog.

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