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Special Election for Illinois Comptroller

Governor Pat Quinn said he will sign into a law a measure the Illinois House and Senate rapidly approved Thursday.

It puts in place a procedure to hold special elections if there is to be a long-term vacancy in most statewide offices. The first such election will happen in 2016 for Illinois comptroller. The office was left open following the death last month of Judy Baar Topinka.

The bill means incoming Governor Bruce Rauner's appointment to the office will have to run for election if she's to keep the job beyond the next two years. Rauner announced this week he will appoint suburban businesswoman Leslie Munger.

Rauner has rejected the concept of a special election.  His fellow Republicans say Democrats -- who control the governor's office until Monday afternoon and will continue to control both chambers of the General Assembly -- are playing politics.

It's the first major conflict between the Democratic legislative leaders and Rauner.

But Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said it's not poisoning the political well.

"We have plenty of other things to talk about to get us set off on a good foot,” said Cullerton.

Neither Rauner, nor a spokesman for Munger, responded to repeated attempts seeking comment.

Some Republicans have raised the prospect of suing. They said the measure is unconstitutional.