You heard it here first.
If Jack Ryan steps down, I'm calling the substitute as Corrine Wood. (Lake Forest mother of a few, wealthy husband, state representative for a term, George Ryan's Lt. Governor from 98-2002).
But. . .there's a wrinkle.
Does the Republican State Central Committee have the legal authority to substitute a candidate for the U.S. Senate after a withdrawal?
This was considered a vague area of state law, which is why explicit authority for the State Central Committees to fill vacancies in nomination (the technical term) for U.S. Senate candidates was put into the omnibus election reform bill which would have, among other things, put Bush on the ballot with their September convention and established the 14-day grace period for voter registration.
That omnibus was Senate Bill 955, as amended, but it was not called for a vote in the State Senate in those last crazy hours of May 31st. Here is the bill. So, maybe now that the pressure is on to substitute Jack Ryan, the Senate Republicans will vote for the omnibus bill (they had previously strenuously opposed the bill, objecting to some of the provisions as Dem-friendly while feeling forced to vote for them in order to get Bush on the ballot).
Without this explicit provision, which is on page 92 of House Amendment 4 of the SB 955, and reads:
Vacancies shall be filled by. . .[and this is the new part] State central committee in the case of a candidate for statewide office, including but not limited to the office of United States Senator
amending Section 7-61 of the Illinois Election Code
who currently has the authority to fill the vacancy in nomination?
My reading of the Election Code is: nobody. So the GOP needs this provision in order to replace Jack Ryan, if that's correct.
Which just might tip the balance in passing the whole thing. And so we'd have Jeri Lynn Ryan to thank, in part, for making voter registration easier in Illinois.
For more on the odyssey of this omnibus bill, read my archives. And I just read in Capitol Fax that there's talk of a special session in Springfield tomorrow.