Illinois State Sen. Emil Jones (D) said he's interested in filling the seat left open by his protege, President-elect Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaButtigieg: America 'united in mourning' Kobe Bryant's death Obama mourns 'heartbreaking' loss of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna 'The worst news': Political world mourns loss of Kobe Bryant MORE.

Jones indicated his interest for the appointment on WBBM-AM radio on Sunday. Jones, who is black, said the seat should be filled by an African-American since the Senate would otherwise have only white members.

Jones initially sparred with Obama when he first entered the state senate in the 1990s, but he eventually gave Obama a a bigger role. Jones is regarded as an ally of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who plans to decide on Obama's successor before Christmas.

Other possible choices for Obama's old seat include state Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Rep. Danny Davis. All are Democrats.