Quinn wants 2016 special election for comptroller

  • Gov. Pat Quinn wants a 2016 special election to fill the comptroller post held by Judy Baar Topinka before she died last week.

    Gov. Pat Quinn wants a 2016 special election to fill the comptroller post held by Judy Baar Topinka before she died last week. Associated Press File Photo

Updated 12/18/2014 5:56 PM

Gov. Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to set up a special election in 2016 to replace former state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

The outgoing Democratic governor called lawmakers to Springfield for a special session Jan. 8.


"Nobody but Judy Baar Topinka was elected to do this job," Quinn said in a statement. "That's why it's so important that voters have the soonest possible opportunity to elect their comptroller. Holding a special election is the right thing to do."

Topinka, a Republican, died last week after suffering a stroke. Services were held Wednesday.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Quinn has the right to appoint someone to fill Topinka's spot until Republican Bruce Rauner is sworn in as the next governor.

Then, Rauner could appoint a four-year replacement, she said.

But Quinn hasn't said whom he plans to appoint or whether he'd try to appoint someone to serve past the last few weeks of Topinka's present term.

As Rauner transitions into the state's top job, the question of who should be the state's next comptroller and for how long has become the biggest question in state politics.

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The Winnetka businessman said the only way to deal with the special election question is via a constitutional amendment. Rauner agrees with Madigan that he should appoint a new comptroller in January, but Madigan also has called for a special election.

"Additionally, any major change like this should apply to all future vacancies and be carefully and thoughtfully discussed -- not rushed through in a last minute special session that would look overtly political," Rauner said in a statement.

Just because Quinn has asked lawmakers to act doesn't mean they will.

House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman has previously said the appointment issue is up to Quinn and Rauner to work out.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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