John Gregory -- Illinois Radio Network

Chicago-area Democrats appear open to the idea of selling the state's main office building in the city.

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to auction off the James R. Thompson and move its 2,200 state employees to either existing state-owned offices or lease new space. State Sen. Kwame Raoul agrees with Rauner that the building has a lot of "wasted space," but also hopes this move doesn't result in a reduced state government presence in Chicago.

"From the standpoint of marketing the state to other states and to the world, it's a whole lot easier to get into the city of Chicago than to get down to Springfield," Raoul said.

State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) remembers Gov. Rod Blagojevich's botched plan to sell the building, and wants to know more about the potential savings before he backs Rauner's idea.

"I think this is really a question about dollars and cents and whether this is more Blagojevichian showbiz or if it's a real, sincere effort to balance the books of the state," Harmon said.

The sale would have to be approved by the legislature.

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