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Durbin calls for special election

Illinois senior Sen. Richard J. Durbin is calling for the state General Assembly to call for a special election to fill Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat given the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on charges he was attempting to sell the appointment to the highest bidder.

Mr. Durbin, a Democrat, said any appointment made by Mr. Blagojevich could not be "credible," so the state Legislature "as quickly as possible" should fill the vacancy left by Mr. Obama's presidential victory.

Mr. Durbin is the first prominent politician to make a statement following the stunning charges Tuesday morning. The president-elect is scheduled to meet with former Vice President Al Gore Tuesday afternoon in his transition headquarters and may make a statement.

Related story: Ill. Gov. Blagojevich arrested federal charges

"This is a sad day for Illinois," Mr. Durbin said.

"Our system of justice gives anyone accused of a crime the right to defend himself in court. The governor will have that opportunity," he said. "But if the allegations in the criminal complaint against Governor Blagojevich are proven true, he has clearly abused the public trust."

"The General Assembly should enact a law as quickly as possible calling for a special election to fill the Senate vacancy of Barack Obama. No appointment by this governor could produce a credible replacement," he said.

About the Author

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...

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