WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly urged Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to consider appointing Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Just days before the Democratic governor was charged with trying to sell Obama's former Senate seat, Reid, D-Nev., reportedly called to say he did not want Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. or Danny Davis or Illinois Senate President Emil Jones to be appointed.
Rather, he wanted Madigan or state Veterans Affairs chief Tammy Duckworth to get the post.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported late last week that Lucio Guerrero, a spokesman for the governor, confirmed that Reid and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, each called Blagojevich's campaign office separately on Dec. 3.
Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to Obama's Senate seat, sparking controversy.
Reid spokesman Jim Manley told the newspaper that Reid called Blagojevich as well as other governors who had Senate vacancies in their respective states.
"Of course Sen. Reid spoke to the governor of Illinois -- just as he spoke to the governors of New York and Colorado when senators from those states accepted jobs in the new administration," Manley was quoted as saying. "It is part of his job as majority leader to share his thoughts about candidates who have the qualities needed to succeed in the Senate."
Madigan, the daughter of the Illinois House speaker, is widely considered a rising star in Democratic circles. Since being narrowly elected in 2002 as the first woman attorney general in Illinois and being re-elected in 2006 with more than 74 percent of the vote, the former state senator has begun to emerge as a national figure.
In May, she was considered by The New York Times to be among the 17 most likely women to become the first female president of the United States if then-Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton didn't win her party's nomination and the general election.
"Lisa Madigan is a rising star in Illinois politics," Mike Lawrence, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, told Legal Newsline in an earlier interview. "There are a lot of people who would like to see her go for governor in 2010."