Prairie State Politics Snapshot

After a holiday respite, local politics are heating up.

More than two weeks after Obama’s resignation, Illinois still has only one Senator. Proving that “post-racial” does not apply in Chicago, a coalition of Black ministers and political and civic leaders called demanded that Gov. Blagojevich replace Obama with an African American. Rep. Bobby Rush (the only man to have bested Obama in an election) said not doing so would be “a national disgrace.”

As Joseph Ryan points out, Blagojevich is weighing how his selection could impact his re-election prospects. (Illinois may be the only state in the union where a governor with a 13% approval rating is considering his re-election prospects.) State Treasurer, and long-time Friend of Barack Alexi Giannoulias is holding press conferences and fundraisers, sounding very much like a candidate for governor. (He’ll be 33 when the next governor takes office.) It could be a heavy-weight battle royale in 2010, with Bill Daley and Attorney General Lisa Madigan all but declared. Throw in Comptroller Dan Hynes, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and State Sen. James Meeks, and Blagojevich may not be crazy to think he could win a primary with a sliver of a fragmented vote.

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