From NBC's Carrie Dann
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois called today for a special election to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat, saying that "no appointment could produce a credible replacement" in light of this morning's arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Durbin says he spoke with a member of the state's general assembly this morning, urging the legislature to enact a law calling for a special election and saying that a "tainted" appointment by the governor -- arrested this morning on corruption charges swirling around the politics of the appointment itself -- would be unacceptable.
"I think it's the only way out at this point," Durbin said today at a press conference on unrelated legislation.
A law passed by the Illinois general assembly would be subject to a gubernatorial veto. Durbin said that he hoped the Illinois legislature would put together a bill with a bipartisan supermajority, implying that resistance from the governor could be possible. "Most executives don't like to give up any power," he said.
Durbin also lamented what he described as a strained relationship with the governor of his state, calling him a "difficult man to communicate with" who dallied for 12 days before returning Durbin's phone call last month in regard to the Senate appointment. The Illinois senator DID, however, note that he sensed nothing untoward about the appointment selection process during that conversation, and about 20 names were discussed.
The Illinois Congressional seat previously held by Obama's newly-picked chief, Rahm Emanuel, will be filled by a special election, but the date for that election must be set... by the governor.