The Campaign Spot

Obama’s Senate Seat Unoccupied Until April?

There may be one more reason Harry Reid probably won’t pull out all the stops on behalf of Al Franken’s sinking hopes in Minnesota.

Unless Reid gets his way and Illinois’s lieutenant governor appoints a replacement for Obama, there will be a special election early next year. Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn may be purer than Caesar’s wife, but any appointee, after the epic stench coming out of the Blagojevich scandal, is going to be taking office under uncomfortable circumstances. After this, can anyone be 100 percent certain that any appointed senator didn’t get selected because of some secret deal? Sen. Dick Durbin and several other high-profile Illinois Democrats have called for a special election, and that’s probably the “cleanest” way to select Obama’s successor in the Senate. (Will the President-elect weigh in?)

Of course, that means Obama’s seat would remain unoccupied until April 7 or so, leaving the Senate with 99 senators, of whom 41 will be Republicans. If the 59th out of 100 senators wasn’t worth going nuclear over, it’s hard to see how the 59th out of 99 would be worth it, either.

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