The Election File: Those 19 men and 19 women who may be picking your next lieutenant governor

February 8, 2010

Scott Lee Cohen has left a vacancy that's going to be filled, officially, by the Democratic Party's State Central Committee. House Speaker Mike Madigan chairs the party, and his spokesman says the speaker will seek input from Governor Pat Quinn and Senate President John Cullerton, neither of whom serve on the committee. But how is the committee picked? Let's see what the law says:

In each congressional district at the primary election, the male candidate receiving the highest number of votes of the party's male candidates for State Central Committeeman, and the female candidates receiving the highest number of votes of the party's female candidate for State Central Committeewoman, shall be declared elected State Central Committeeman, and State Central Committeewoman from the district. (10ILCS 5/7-8 via Illinois State Board of Elections)

That's right. You pick them, Democratic voters of Illinois. Here's the current roster of the Democratic State Central Committee: BOBBY L. RUSH - 1st CD Committeeman CONSTANCE A. "CONNIE" HOWARD - 1st CD Committeewoman EMIL JONES, JR. - 2nd CD Committeeman CARRIE M. AUSTIN - 2nd CD Committeeperson MICHAEL J. MADIGAN - 3rd CD Committeeman HELEN OZMINA BARC - 3rd CD Committeewoman RICARDO MUNOZ - 4th CD Committeeman IRIS Y. MARTINEZ - 4th CD Committeewoman JIM DeLEO - 5th CD Committeeman CYNTHIA M. SANTOS - 5th CD Committeewoman ROBERT WAGNER - 6th CD Committeeman JOAN E. BRENNAN - 6th CD Committeewoman DANNY K. DAVIS - 7th CD Committeeman DARLENA WILLIAMS-BURNETT - 7th CD Committeewoman STEVEN M. POWELL - 8th CD Committeeman NANCY SHEPHERDSON - 8th CD Committeewoman WILLIAM MAROVITZ - 9th CD Committeeman CAROL RONEN - 9th CD Committeewoman BILL CROWLEY - 10th CD Committeeman LAUREN BETH GASH - 10th CD Committeewoman PAT WELCH - 11th CD Committeeman DEBBIE HALVORSON - 11th CD Committeewoman JERRY COSTELLO - 12th CD Committeeman BARB BROWN - 12th CD Committeewoman KYLE R. HASTINGS - 13th CD Committeeman JULIA KENNEDY BECKMAN - 13th CD Committeewoman MARK GUETHLE - 14th CD Committeeman ELIZABETH PENESIS - 14th CD Committeewoman TERRY REDMAN- 15th CD Committeeman LYNN FOSTER - 15th CD Committeewoman JOHN NELSON - 16th CD Committeeman LINDA MCNEELY - 16th CD Committeewoman DON JOHNSTON - 17th CD Committeeman MARY BOLAND - 17th CD Committeewoman JAMES K. POLK - 18th CD Committeeman SHIRLEY McCOMBS - 18th CD Committeewoman JAY HOFFMAN - 19th CD Committeeman JAYNE MAZZOTTI - 19th CD Committeewoman It's a tough legal question, I'm told, to figure whether these current committee members will get to make the call, or whether the newly-elected committee will. If the meeting of the committee remains at its scheduled date in mid-March, then the new members (like Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.) will get a say. (Those primary results will be "proclaimed" by March 5th.) If the meeting is moved up before then, could the old committee pick a replacement, even though Cohen would not yet be officially nominated? We'll let you know when we know. UPDATE: Madigan spokesman Steve Brown emphasizes that the meeting is still scheduled for March 15th. He says it's his understanding that since this vacancy stems from the primary last week, the vacancy would be filled using the committeemen and committeewomen elected last week. And here's something else that's not so simple: the voting count. From the committee bylaws:

At meetings of the Central Committee, each member shall cast a weighted number of votes as provided by law. Except as otherwise provided in State law or these Rules, all questions shall be determined by a majority of all weighted votes cast on the question.

And how is this weighted vote determined?

In the organization and proceedings of the State central committee, each State central committeeman and State central committeewoman shall have one vote for each ballot voted in his or her congressional district by the primary electors of his or her party at the primary election immediately preceding the meeting of the State central committee. (10 ILCS 5/7 -- ˜8)

That is going to be a great show.