Lawmaker says constituents 'overwhelmingly' favor special election

Ann Knef Dec. 16, 2008, 4:18am


Illinois House Republicans are upset that members adjourned Monday's session without voting on whether to hold a special election for the vacant U.S. Senate seat, said state Rep. Ron Stephens.

In the wake of last week's arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on political corruptions charges, lawmakers returned to Springfield to talk about impeachment and the Senate seat formerly held by President-elect Barack Obama.

"The purpose of calling us back was to deal with an election for the U.S. Senate," said Stephens, R-Greenville. "We didn't hear it. We adjourned."

Stephens said he has received many phone calls from constituents regarding the special election.

"People in my district overwhelmingly want to have a special election," he said.

Stephens also said that concerns being raised by Democrats that a special election would cost around $50 million and take months to decide are "good arguments."

"(But) they pale in comparison" to what is at stake, he said.

"We have to restore faith of the people in our system."

State House members, who gathered for a special session Monday, voted 113-0 to create a special impeachment committee.

"I don't care who would be appointed to the seat," Stephens said.
"They would have a cloud over them. It would make the other arguments moot."

He said if Democrats "try to pull the wool over people, I honestly believe they will not be forgiven."

The committee, comprised of 12 Democrats and nine Republicans, will take testimony and ultimately vote yes or no to impeach. If at least 11 members vote yes, the committee's recommendation goes forward to the State Senate. A two-thirds vote in the Senate is required to impeach the governor.

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