SPRINGFIELD — Faced with more questions about his ties to Rod Blagojevich, Gov. Pat Quinn has answered some of them by trumpeting his support of a provision that would allow voters to recall governors from office in the middle of their terms.
Asked about his former running mate’s federal corruption trial, Quinn called the charges “disturbing” and noted he and the ex-governor were elected independently in primary elections.
But Quinn also emphasized his efforts to get behind recall, possibly in an attempt to distance himself from Blagojevich’s legal troubles.
“I think the ultimate way to get ethics in Illinois is have the power of recall in our constitution,” Quinn said.
Last year, lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment that would give voters the chance to recall governors if they get a large number of signatures and support from lawmakers. Voters will have the final say in November’s election whether they want recall rights.
The process of recall was most famously used in California in 2003, when voters there kicked Democratic Gov. Gray Davis from office and installed Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in his place.
Quinn was a vocal supporter of the effort, which was approved along with other reforms that were inspired by Blagojevich’s arrest and impeachment.
“I don’t think if I hadn’t pushed for it so hard, it would be there,” Quinn said.
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Quinn’s opponent in the race for governor, Republican Bill Brady of Bloomington, voted for the recall plan as a state senator.
Still, Brady spokeswoman Patty Schuh called the plan Quinn pushed a “watered-down and weakened version.”
Brady co-sponsored a recall amendment that would not have required voters to get the approval of lawmakers to recall a governor.
The recall question will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot, along with Quinn, Brady and other candidates for office.