Eight former federal prosecutors have been tapped for interviews for the job of U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, an office which has traditionally crusaded against political corruption in the state.

Patrick Fitzgerald stepped down as U.S. attorney in June after 11 years that saw two governors and numerous other politicians and political insiders go to jail. To fill his shoes, a selection committee has narrowed the search to eight.  The finalists include a federal judge, the governor’s inspector general and six lawyers in private practice.

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Those recommendations will be passed on to U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.), who will conduct interviews and submit their recommendations to the president. Durbin says the process must be bi-partisan. “We’re doing it together,” Durbin said.

The finalists are all from Illinois, but Durbin said that wasn’t purposely done. “From a personal point of view, I was not going to let this decision be made based on a zip code or an area code,” Durbin said. “I just want to look at the most qualified person, and that means you don’t automatically pick someone from Illinois or automatically disqualify someone from Illinois.”

Durbin and Kirk’s pick won’t be announced until after the election.

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