Blagojevich no quitter - no plans to step down tomorrow

Jake Turcotte

Good news for Governor Blagojevich fans!  He's not stepping down tomorrow.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan speculated on Meet the Press this morning that the embattled Governor - who had an approval rating of four percent before the scandal - might resign tomorrow.

"We have heard that there is a possibility that tomorrow he will make an announcement where he will step aside," Madigan told new host David Gregory.

He's staying put

As it turns out, it was just a rumor.  Governor Blagojevich - who may be the first elected official in the country to record an approval rating of below zero (although mathematically impossible) - is no quitter.

“The Gov has no plans of resigning tomorrow,” a spokesman emailed Bloomberg News.

When asked if Blagojevich is looking at resignation in the future, the spokesman replied, "Not that I know of."

In the meantime, a replacement pick in the U.S. Senate for President-elect Barack Obama is in limbo.

Blago can pick

Could Blagojevich still select Obama's successor?  He could.  Although Madigan doesn't believe the individual would accept the position if offered.

"Nobody in their right mind would accept an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat that this governor made," she said. "The Legislature tomorrow was also scheduled to take up a law that would basically allow a special election to fill that seat, and I think that's what the people of the state deserve and want at this point."

Let me help

Lt. Governor Pat Quinn - also a Democrat - has other ideas, however.  He told Meet the Press of his preference to select the successor, claiming the State needed proper representation in the Senate.

"I saw a bill on Friday night that would provide for a temporary appointment to the U.S. Senate until we could have a special election," Quinn said. "I am concerned that we always have two senators from Illinois representing us in Washington and I think it's very important that whoever is governor get an opportunity to appoint at least a temporary person until an election could take place."

No Quinn, no how

That's exactly what the Illinois Republican party does not want. They want a special election.  They don't want Quinn's pick to rack up any incumbency - no matter how short-lived it would be.

"Pat Quinn is part of Rod Blagojevich's administration and should not be allowed to pick the next U.S. Senator," said Republican DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett in a conference call to reporters on Sunday afternoon and reported in the Washington Post. "When it would have taken political courage to speak out, Pat Quinn was silent."


What's next in the soap opera?  Madigan petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court on Friday for his removal.  She said Blagojevich could be looking at other options rather than immediate resignation.

"[Blagojevich could] take another option that is provided under the Illinois constitution where he can voluntarily recognize that there is a serious impediment to his ability to carry out his duties, and therefore temporarily remove himself," she added.

Why would he go that route?  Because he can step down "temporarily" and still get paid.

“I have heard as well that one of his main concerns is his financial circumstances right now,” Madigan said.

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