Until yesterday, the Democratic Party seemed certain to hold on to the position of junior senator from Illinois. But, now that that state might use a special election, rather than a gubernatorial appointment, to choose its new senator, the question becomes: can a Republican win that special election?
Illinois has been very "blue" lately. But it elected a Republican senator as recently as 1998. And Republican George Ryan was governor from 1999 to 2003 (ending a 26-year string of Republican governors). It was in part because of Ryan's corrupt behavior (he is now in prison) that Democrats staged a rebound during the current decade.
Will there be a similar backlash against the Democrats, now that Ryan's Democratic successor has been charged with corruption?
Politico has an article that speculates on that possibility, citing Congressman Mark Kirk as a potential Republican candidate. He represents northern suburbs of Chicago.
I wonder to what extent President-elect Obama's attempt to persuade Governor Blagojevich to resign is based on his hope of avoiding a special election.