I see why there isn't a special election. Lipinski is not retiring from Congress until the end of his term. Instead he is simply choosing not to run again in November, leaving a vacancy on the ballot for the Democratic nominee. That vacancy in nomination will be filled by the committeemen. This is the manipulative BS that the low-turnout wing of the Democratic Party specializes in: emasculating voters in the name of loyalty to other patronage-powered old men. I have no idea whether the Tennessee professor might make a good Congressman but I doubt it. At least this explains why Lipinski did not criticize Alan Keyes for trucking into Illinois to run for office. The silver lining is that either the son or the 2006 challenger might be less of a Zell Miller Democrat that Bill Lipinski was. Aside from trade, Lipinski was one of those regular cross-over votes on lots of issues. Now we have a chance to get a more progressive Dem elected, perhaps even with the policy impact of JJJ or Rahm.
UPDATE: Now that I've read the statute at 12:30 pm, I can see the loophole. 10 ILCS 5/25-7 says that there must be a special election to fill a congressional vacancy if it occurs more than 180 days before the next general election. That deadline was May 2nd, so the statute doesn't apply. It isn't clear to me that the congressional committee (made up of the ward and township committemen in the 3rd congressional district) has clear statutory authority to fill the vacancy, but that's probably in some other section of the Election Code. Oh well.