Second, let me throw out a few names of possible replacements for your consideration and analysis: * U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
* U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky
* U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel
* U.S. Rep. Luis Guitierrez
* Ill. Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan
* Ill. Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias
* Ill. Comptroller Dan Hynes
* Former Ill. Sen. Carol Ronen
* Dan Seals
* Tammy Duckworth
* Ill. Rep. Jay Hoffman (D.-Collinsville)
* Gov. Rod Blagojevich (nothing I see in the law prevents him from appointing himself)
Would he choose to reward an ally? Toss a favor toward a constituent group? Get a potential political rival safely out of the way?
A smart and popular choice would be Lisa Madigan, who’s not only widely seen as a likely challenger to Blagojevich for the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination but also the daughter of his bitter legislative rival, House Speaker Michael Madigan
Jackson would have been a decent guess a couple years ago when Jackson and Blagojevich were cozying up on a set of issues. The problem now is that Jackson would have the double baggage of defending the seat as a Blagojevich supporter and Jesse Jackson Jr which creates a bunch of issues downstate.
Schakowsky would love it and it would burnish Blagojevich’s credit with progressives, but there isn’t a large upside and it’s safe to say that there has to be an upside.
Guitierrez is a horrible fundraiser and seemingly lax campaigner. It’s hard to imagine he’d want to think about running a Senate campaign in 2010. And he has Rezko ties which Blagojevich doesn’t want to bring up.
Rahm? My guess is Rahm wants to be Speaker. The Senate wouldn’t be as natural of a fit for him, though he could easily hold the seat. Again though, I don’t see the upside for Blagojevich.
Dan Seals? He was to win a Congressional seat first.
Blagojevich himself–nah. He wasn’t much in DC and from what I understand it wasn’t his favorite place.
Madigan? It’s hard to say. She seems less likely to get in the Governor’s race–or at least that’s the murmerings so he might take that shot. It also would be doing a nice thing for Mike Madigan and even if it’s politically motivated, Blagojevich wouldn’t do that.
Hynes? I think in the delusional mind of Rod Blagojevich, Hynes is who he wants to run against in 2010 if he runs again and he sees Hynes as the least threatening. He’s wrong. While Dan is a bit sedate, he’s a perfect antidote to Blagojevich.
Giannoulis? A very real possibility. Alexi is a threat and doesn’t have the baggage of the Madigans. Giannoulis would take it as a big vertical move with little to risk.
Hoffman? I think this might be the choice. Blagojevich is loyal and no one has stuck with him through everything more than Hoffman. Hoffman is kind of stuck right now as well. He’s been so loyal he is essentially seen as Blagojevich and that’s probably unfair. The assumption is he wanted to run for AG when it’s open, but with Blagojevich around his neck, that would be hard right now. He’s smart and works hard and as an incumbent he could win in 2010 easily.
Duckworth? That’s the best choice probably on the list from his point in that it truly would be an appointment of someone who isn’t a crony and would make him look good. She’s likeable and has a great story.
From that list, I’d put it down as a 1. Hoffman, 2. Duckworth, and 3. Giannoulis as his likely picks (don’t ask me to make a choice, I like all three in different ways).
But I think there are some other names that should be in the mix.
Manny Flores–the Latino pick who would hold that seat and get a whole lot of support for Blagojevich if he ran again.
Blair Hull. See rationale for Jay Hoffman, but remember Hull has been a huge financial backer of the Governor. This is my favorite theory even if it seems a bit out there.
Vallas. Gets Vallas out of the way–see Madigan/Giannoulis.
I’d say Halvorson, but she’s running for Congress. She might have Emil’s support since she’s been a loyal Majority Leader. She’d be great as well.
So my handicapping of what he will do:
1) Giannoulis with Duckworth taking his spot