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Special Election Wrangling in Springfield

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Illinois lawmakers are going home without considering a special election to fill the state’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. In Springfield Tuesday, Republicans blasted Democratic leaders for adjourning without allowing a debate or a vote. Senator David Luechtefeld calls that shameful.

LUECHTEFELD: This was embarrassing, this was disgusting to do what they did. I mean it is a total sham. We came here for two days for absolutely nothing.

Many lawmakers questioned the estimated $50 million price tag for the special election. But Republicans argue it could be done more cheaply, and that an election is needed to restore faith in government.

Monday, House Speaker Michael Madigan said there was no consensus among Democrats on the legislation.

Meantime, President-elect Barack Obama is trying to stay out of the debate. Obama declined to answer a question about whether he supports a special election.

OBAMA: I’ve said that I don’t think the governor can serve effectively in his office. I’m going to let the state legislature make a determination in terms of how they want to proceed.

Governor Rod Blagojevich, who’s accused of attempting to sell Obama’s Senate seat for personal gain, could still try to name the state’s new senator. Blagojevich’s attorney has said the governor believes he did nothing wrong.

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