Who Will Replace Mike Frerichs In General Assembly? 12 Think They Have Political Chops

January 07, 2015

Hannah Meisel/WILL

Champaign Democrat Mike Frerichs is about to trade up titles. On Monday he'll go from state senator to Illinois' new treasurer. But Frerichs' successor is still a mystery.

When a legislator leaves his or her seat--in the case of death, resignation or winning a higher office--local party officials get to choose who finishes out the term.

For whoever's picked, It's a good opportunity to step up the ladder, without going through months of campaigning. A pool of a dozen people from Champaign and Vermillion counties have come forward wanting to finish out the remaining two years of Frerichs' term.

12 is more than a regular campaign starts out with on both sides of the aisle. But since Frerichs is a Democrat, this is a contest only for that party.

Political scientist Kent Redfield, from the University of Illinois Springfield, says getting appointed is an easy foot in the door, without the months of campaigning.

"It's an opportunity to serve for two years and then be an incumbent running for reelection."

Redfield says it's not surprising to have a dozen people clamoring for Frerichs' seat, especially because there has been no frontrunner.

The dozen wannabe senators will get to make their case Wednesday night in Champaign, and party officials will make their decision next week. Al Klein, Chairman of the Champaign County Democrats, says he's not necessarily in any rush.

"The legislators are sworn in on the 14th and there is an organization session that it would be nice for our senator to be present for, although not critical.

Klein will make the decision with Vermilion County Democratic Party chair Frank Wright, though Klein has a majority of votes. This will be the first major appointment Klein will make as the county's party chair.

Story source: WILL