Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New state senate president may soon be decided

Democrats who control the Illinois Senate will try to pick a new leader Wednesday in what has become a mostly two-person duel for one of the most powerful positions in the Statehouse.

State Sens. John Cullerton of Chicago and James Clayborne of Belleville are the frontrunners in the internal battle, which was touched off by the pending retirement of Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago.

The duo will take center stage at a closed-door meeting of senators at a Springfield restaurant tonight.

State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, is among a handful of senators who have not publicly pledged their votes to one particular candidate.

“I’ve got a really tough decision to make,” Jacobs said Tuesday “I have not sworn my allegiance. My vote could be key.”

State Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, also wasn’t tipping his hand to a favorite Tuesday. He said Cullerton and Clayborne are busy trying to round up votes among the 37 Democrats who comprise the 59-member Senate.

“They are going at it day and night,” Forby said.

Both Clayborne and Cullerton emerged as top picks after an election season that saw them spread hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates hoping to seal up support for their leadership bids.
My hope is that downstater Clayborne takes the position. My main idea is that Chicago has most of the state offices from Governor to Speaker of the IL State House. Let's see downstate represented in the leadership dynamics in Springfield especially in a prominent position.

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