Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are in federal court fighting a federal appeals court decision to have--yes, a little late in the game--a special election on Nov. 2 to fill the remainder of the Senate term Barack Obama gave up when he was elected president.
But if the special election proceeds--and presuming Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias would be the major contenders, just as they are for the full six-year term--they could raise double the money from their donors, who face donation caps in federal races. Under federal rules, contribution caps apply to each election, and a special election would be just that.
Meanwhile, how this will end up is not yet clear.
Marty Oberman, the lead attorney on the case to have the special election (Thomas Geoghegan is also on the case) filed a 104-page brief (read it here)in reply to Quinn and Madigan's plea to have the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reconsider their June 16 ruling calling for a special election on Nov. 2--the same day Illinois voters would be electing a senator for a full six-year term. Read the Quinn/Madigan pleadings here.
Oberman argues that the state is not obligated to hold an expensive primary--costing the cash strapped state millions of dollars it does not have--that voters will not be confused, and that the whole special election could be executed "efficiently and at no additional cost to the taxpayer."
My column on this stunning development here.
Read the June 16 opinion here.
Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill), who thought he had a job until the new Congress is seated next January is also protesting the ruling.