Illinois Comptroller-elect Susana Mendoza — who could have been sworn in as soon as Dec. 5 per special election rules — on Monday notified Leslie Munger that she’ll take the oath on Jan. 3, and she asked for regular meetings with Munger until then.
Mendoza’s letter to Munger also noted the at times nasty nature of the comptroller race — which became the most expensive in the state.
“It is my sincere hope that now that the election is over, we can work together for the good of the people of the State of Illinois, and put aside our differences, many of which were highlighted during the long and contentious election cycle,” Mendoza wrote in the letter. “I am sure you share my desire for a smooth, cooperative transition that causes minimal disruption to the operation of the State.”
Because Mendoza was elected during a special election, following the death of Judy Baar Topinka, she could have assumed the position on December 5. However, Mendoza chose to take more time to transition into the post. December 5 is the first date in which she could be sworn in because the law states that once her election results are certified by the Illinois State Board of Elections, she could then take office. The results should be certified on Dec. 5.
In the letter, Mendoza noted Munger’s “gracious” concession call on Election Night and said she hoped to speak with her further about the transition.
Munger’s office said they’re on board to work with Mendoza.
“We intend to work closely with the Comptroller-elect’s team to ensure a smooth transition,” Rich Carter, a Munger spokesman said in a statement.
The comptroller race got much more attention than usual this year, as it was seen as a proxy war between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. The comptroller writes the checks for the state to those it owes money. But it does so only with authorization from the legislature and approval from the governor.
More than $12 million was poured into the race, much of it for high-profile TV ads and mailers.
Mendoza, the Chicago city clerk, won with 49 percent to Munger’s 45 percent. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Mendoza on the campaign trail vowed to be a vocal Rauner antagonist.
Illinois is facing $9 billion in debt and an ongoing budget crisis, as many state vendors have gone unpaid.