‘Only in Illinois’? Criminally charged Luis Arroyo wants say in who succeeds him in House

Party leaders have asked Arroyo to relinquish his post as a Democratic ward committeeman. Instead, the Northwest Democrat is calling a meeting to choose his replacement.

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Luis Arroyo leaving the Dirksen Federal Building Oct. 28.

Then state Rep. Luis Arroyo, right, leaves the Dirksen Federal Building on Monday, October 28. File Photo.

Santiago Covarrubias/For the Sun-Times

A week after he stepped down in the face of federal bribery charges, former state Rep. Luis Arroyo is calling a meeting of Cook County Democrats “to decide who shall be my replacement.”

Party leaders have asked Arroyo to relinquish his post as 36th Ward Democratic committeeman. Instead, the Northwest Democrat notified a group of the committeeman on Friday that he wants a say in who replaces him in Springfield.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said “only in Illinois is there such political corruption that an indicted politician can pick his own replacement.”

Arroyo hasn’t been indicted yet, but he was hit late last month with a federal bribery charge.

In his statement, Durkin said any appointment “made with Arroyo’s participation” would be “improper” and “should not be recognized by the House of Representatives.”

In his letter, Arroyo calls for Democratic Committeemen who represent voters in the state’s 3rd House District to meet at 5 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the Alliance of Polish Clubs, 5835 W. Diversey.

“As the democratic committeeman with the greatest number of weighted votes in the 3rd District and the recognized chair of the 3rd Representative District Committee, I am calling a meeting of the democratic committeemen for the purpose of filing the vacancy created by my retirement from the Illinois House of Representatives,” part of the letter reads.

Arroyo stepped down from his position in the Illinois House last week after being charged with bribery. But he has not stepped down from his party post.

Former state Rep. Luis Arroyo.

Former state Rep. Luis Arroyo resigned after being accused of trying to bribe a state senator. File Photo.

Capitol News Illinois file

On Monday, leaders in the county party sent a letter asking him to resign from his 36th Ward Committeeman position. He has not responded to that letter.

Ten Democratic committeemen whose wards or townships are part of the House district will vote on Arroyo’s General Assembly replacement. It will be a weighted vote. The winner needs 50% plus one to win, or 9,892 weighted votes, according to a document provided to the Chicago Sun-Times from the county’s Democratic Party.

Arroyo alone controls more than a third of the weighted votes.

His vote is the equivalent of 7,447 votes. That number is dictated by the number of votes cast for Arroyo in each ward and township in the last general election, which was November 2018. 

After Arroyo, 30th Ward Ald. Ariel Reboyras has the next largest weighted vote with 3,687. 35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa follows Reboyras with 2,212 votes.

In the letter, Arroyo says he’s “inviting any and all potential candidates to submit their credentials for consideration by the committeemen authorized to choose my replacement.”

At the end of the Candidate presentation process “we will retire to executive session for discussion and then take a vote to decide who shall be my replacement,” the letter continues.

The results of that will then be written down and “the appropriate documents will be filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives and the Illinois secretary of state on the next business day which will be Monday, November 18, 2019.”

State Sen. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, whose vote is worth 1,843 votes, called the move “disappointing.”

“Given the circumstances surrounding his departure from the House, I would think that we would be looking to restore some confidence and integrity in the process, not letting the guy who’s charged hand pick his successor,” Martwick said. “I don’t think that’s a good look.”

Read former state Rep. Luis Arroyo’s letter:

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