Lynn Sweet reports that Gov. Blagojevich is "mulling appointing a search committee to advise him on who he should appoint" to replace Barack Obama in the Senate should Obama win the presidency Tuesday.
I'm told that Blagojevich may host a press conference later this week in Chicago in order to discuss the appointment, the criteria and give some insight into the process to replace Obama, elected to the Senate in 2004.
While Blagojevich will make the final decision who will serve the two years remaining on Obama's term--he would be up for re-election in 2010--the governor is mulling a consultative process.
Blagojevich will not limit the pool of potential Obama replacements to elected officials.
Speculation about Obama's potential successor has been rampant. Some of the most frequently mentioned candidates are Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutierrez and Jesse Jackson Jr., who was pre-emptively endorsed for the post by the Chicago Defender. llinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth also gets frequent mention, as does retiring State Senate President Emil Jones, Obama's Springfield mentor. Those who believe Blagojevich would use the appointment to help his own re-election mention Attorney General Lisa Madigan and State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, both potential gubernatorial primary foes. Atlantic political blogger Marc Ambinder even floated the governor's political nemesis, House Speaker Mike Madigan, as a possibility.
But all of the speculation must be weighed against Governor Blagojevich's unpredictability, as Capitol Fax's Rich Miller noted to WBBM:
As for who Gov. Blagojevich would pick to replace Obama as Illinois U.S. Senator, if Obama becomes president, Miller won't even venture a guess. He believes it will be whoever Blagojevich thinks can help him the most. But Miller says the governor is too unpredictable for him to know who that may be.