According to Chris Bowers, the four main possibilities for succeeding Obama in 2009, should he win the presidency, are Jan Schakowsky, Jesse Jackson Jr., Rahm Emanuel, and losing 2006 Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth appears to have the inside track with Rod Blajojevich, who’ll be doing the picking. Any of them would be good choices, though I doubt Emanuel would be interested; the fourth-ranking post in the Democratic caucus isn’t something you give up lightly, and he appears to have the inside track to the Speakership.
Schakowsky and Jackson have impeccable voting records on everything except trade, where both are restrictionist but Jackson’s worse (he even voted to withdraw from the WTO). It’s a little rich that Jackson describes it as “too soon” for Schakowsky to join the Senate; he only has four more years in the body, and was elected without any previous government experience, whereas Schakowsky spent eight years in the Illinois House before her election to Congress. But Jackson’s twenty-one years younger than Schakowsky, and Duckworth’s twenty-four, meaning they could hold the seat a lot longer than Schakowsky. Duckworth is less overtly liberal than Schakowsky or Jackson, and though she’s outstanding at articulating the case against the war, that obviously won’t be worth much once Obama initiates a withdrawal. As it stands, I’m leaning toward Jackson, but there aren’t any obviously bad choices here.