ABC News’ Rick Klein and David Chalian Report: Rep. Danny Davis — who has been actively lobbying for an appointment to the Senate — said Tuesday that he doesn’t want the job if it’s “tainted” by the allegations leveled at Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Davis, D-Ill., stopped short of saying he wouldn’t accept the appointment to fill the remaining two years of President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat, pointing out that Blagojevich hasn’t been indicted on any crimes, much less convicted.
But Davis said on ABC NewsNOW’s Politics Live Tuesday that he and others who might want to run for a full term in 2010 need to “think twice” about whether they’d want to be handed the job, if the allegations leveled at Blagojevich, D-Ill., prove to be true.
“Obviously the process is tainted and people [who want the seat] would have to think twice and would want to think twice about what would happen to them, especially if they were running for re-election,” Davis said. “I wouldn’t want a tainted job, but there is still going to be the need for the state of Illinois to have a second senator.”
Davis said he hopes Blagojevich is cleared of wrongdoing, notwithstanding the damaging quotes contained in the criminal complaint.
“I’m hoping that it’s not how it looks. It looks terrible. It looks bad. I mean I’ve read the information and the allegations and they’re hard to believe,” Davis said. “You know, Gov. Blagojevich has a way sometimes of talking where he’s sort of joking saying things, and who knows? I mean it may be a part of that, though I’m not suggesting that it is or that it actually looks that way.”
“I’d like the job, I would like for the governor to be cleared of these allegations of wrongdoing. I’m hoping that he will be, and that’s where I rest my case.”
Davis expressed support for a proposal advanced Tuesday by Illinois’ remaining senator, Dick Durbin, to have the Senate seat filled by a special election instead of the governor. Such a move would require a change in state law.
“No appointment by this governor under these circumstances could produce a credible replacement,” Durbin, D-Ill., told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday, per ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf. “It’s better to let the people of our state speak and choose a person to represent them in this critical moment in our nation’s history.”
Said Davis: “I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that. I have not spoken with Sen. Durbin but of course I have a tremendous amount of respect for his judgment and political wisdom and certainly would in all likelihood join with him in such a call.”
Davis told ABC News after the interview that another option would be for Blagojevich to name someone to the seat who has no interest in continuing beyond 2010. That would ensure full Senate representation for Illinois, without loading baggage onto an incumbent running for a full term.