* Outgoing Congressman Joe Walsh got tongues wagging a bit when he hinted at his last town hall meeting that he might run for US Senate (“It’d be kind of fun to run against Dick Durbin, wouldn’t it?”) or governor…
“This state needs a Republican Party. The reason Michael Madigan can dominate this state is because there’s no Republican Party. This Republican Party needs a Scott Walker to run for governor, and I have not seen or heard that candidate yet.
“I will not sit by and let some establishment, fuddy-duddy Republican be our candidate again when this state needs to be totally saved.”
As speaker, Mr. Madigan employs about two dozen staff members who work directly with Democratic representatives in writing legislation, running committees and so forth. Known as the “issues staff,” such folks also almost always serve as Madigan political operatives during election season, going off the government payroll as soon as the legislative session ends and then going on a political payroll, where they run the campaigns of Democratic House candidates.
Anyhow, the gigs generally are for two years. Which means that, given the long hours and other opportunities elsewhere that tend to open up after working for the powerful Mr. Madigan, there are some departures every two years, right after the election.
This year, though, the turnover appears to be particularly high. […]
But given the number, I hear two other possibilities: One, that people are being held in reserve for a Lisa Madigan campaign. Two, that the issues staff senses the speaker’s days are numbered, perhaps because he’d have to step down for a Lisa Madigan race, so they’re embedding themselves in a slot to make some money off their connections while they still can.
“Everybody’s speculating that this is Madigan’s last hurrah,” says one influential Democratic rep.
“Nothing like this happens by coincidence,” says a well-connected lobbyist.
I know many of those who are leaving, and not one of them has even remotely indicated that they’re leaving because they have some sort of knowledge that the Speaker is retiring soon. He may be retiring soon. But those staffers wouldn’t know about it.
Citing a statewide need to better combat crime and corruption, Republican Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran says he’s seriously considering making a bid for attorney general.
And, he said, he would do so regardless of whether current Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan — who is rumored to be weighing a run for governor but has not yet announced her intentions — seeks re-election.
“I intend to run against her,” said Curran, of Libertyville. “She’s won by big margins in the past. But, look, I have a good feeling. Does everyone I say that to connect with me on that? No. But I think we (as a state) can do much better.”
A wealthy southwest suburban businessman says he’s being urged to run for governor against incumbent Pat Quinn in next year’s Democratic primary — and confirms that he just may do it.
John Atkinson, 52, a managing director at insurance giant Willis Group Holdings, says he hasn’t made up his mind and won’t until taking some time to review his options and determine where he would fit in a field that could draw multiple challengers to the incumbent. But he makes it clear he’s no fan of Mr. Quinn’s.
“We do need some new leadership in this state. We have no vision for the future,” Mr. Atkinson told me in a phone interview. Those who have approached him — a mix of elected officials and others whom he declined to name — “see me as someone who can raise money and talk to business but who also shares their values.”
Mr. Atkinson had been prepared to run for Congress last year against Chicago Democrat Dan Lipinski, who is considered well to the political right of most Democrats. He backed off after Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and other Springfield Democrats literally redrew the congressional map to save Mr. Lipinski, carving Mr. Atkinson’s Burr Ridge home out of Mr. Lipinski’s district and putting it into an adjoining district where he would have had to run against U.S. Rep.-elect Bill Foster.
A rich Democrat would be able to finance much of his own campaign, but he’d need to run a spectacular race to beat a sitting governor in a primary bid - and I don’t care how unpopular Quinn is now or is then.
If Atkinson runs and self funds, it might be the best thing to happen to the Gov, because he can then raise unlimited money from his trades/labor friends. Self funding with this current law is a gift/curse.
- Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 2:05 pm:
As much as Dems dislike Quinn, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Lisa Madigan or Jesse White who could beat him in a primary. Name recognition and the need for anyone helping an opponent to do so quietly are the Governor’s biggest friends.
The Republicans would be wise to get behind a calm, competent candidate who can appeal to Dems. Joe Walsh is not that candidate by any stretch of the imagination (although he might attract quite a few cross-over Dems in the primary).
Joe Walsh is done, and the cheif tea bagger in Congress is headed to the Heritage Foundation…I think it’s safe to say that the sharp right turn by the GOP is flamimg out…Maybe Skip Saviano should run for Governor…
As a Dem, I’d probably pull an R ballot and vote for Walsh, because having him as the GOP candidate would make winning a lot easier for the general. But if Quinn gets a serious primary challenge (could be Atkinson) the eventual winner will have a hard time in the November unless the Republicans choose a clown like Walsh
“This state needs a Republican Party…I will not sit by and let some establishment, fuddy-duddy Republican be our candidate again when this state needs to be totally saved.”
Uhhh….for an ‘OUTGOING’ dude, losing in the neighborhood of 10 percentage points, WHY should anyone care what he thinks? If he wants repubs to win, he/they might want to consider how out of touch Walsh is/was?
Walsh is exactly right and if you doubt that most republicans in the state feel the way look at what happened in the new trier gop gov decision when they went with a winger in dan proft over establishment folks like dillard. I think he would have an easy time with dillard/schock/rauner/brady or if he wants to run for senate that seat in the primary because it’s just so much more important for republican primary voters to have someone that we know is not a career hack. Most Republicans and I say Republicans not conservatives who think this even more, care more about getting someone fresh who isn’t an insider hack that will be Democrat light than “someone who can just win” and if walsh does it, he’ll have the support, mouth and ego included.
47th ward-I’m more sick of republicans that run as phonies like dillard, and dold and rauner who just buddy up to chicago’s city hall than I am of losing supporting walsh’s. The Mayor of Chicago already has the chicago media to be alfred to his batman, I don’t need Gubernatorial and Senate candidates who will do the same.
–Walsh is exactly right and if you doubt that most republicans in the state feel the way look at what happened in the new trier gop gov decision when they went with a winger in dan proft over establishment folks like dillard.–
What exactly “happened” with Proft, other than about 8% in the primary?
Also, Proft certainly had a long and lucrative relationship with the Cicero Township GOP. That’s just part of the GOP “establishment” some don’t like to talk about, in case someone’s wearing a wire.
This post has to bring a smile to Pat Quinn’s face. Atkinson in the primary and Walsh in the general? He’d love 2014 to be that easy.
I’m a fan of Greg Hinz — he should know better. If Madigan was getting ready to pull the plug he wouldn’t be tipping his hand, not even to his top staff. I do find it curious that so many staffers are leaving, and what’s more curious is that some of them don’t have gigs lined up. Somethings going on here, I just don’t think it has anything to do with the Speaker leaving.
Curran is an interesting guy — a little different, but definitely interesting. No chance against Lisa, but a contender in an open primary. Would his driver’s license stance hurt him in a GOP primary?
Shore, I thought you wanted Republicans to get elected? Is purity more important? Fine with me, but our state would be better served if there were credible Republicans offering solutions to our problems.
Are Dillard and Dold RINOs? What does that make Mark Kirk?
And if you believe Joe Walsh is somehow an authentic conservative, you’re delusional. He’s a caricature, a Tea Party con man selling snake oil to the gullible. He’s neither authentic nor a conservative. Wake up.
I can’t believe I misspelled Dick Durbin’s name BEFORE the office Christmas party.
- LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 3:24 pm:
Shore clearly is part of the “I’d rather be right than win” crowd that insist on their “cafeteria conservative” point of view than accomplishing anything. Unfortunately, there are enough of them that Walsh could win the primary. Tens of thousands of Republicans like me — already in the minority — will then RUN to the polls and elected nearly any Democrat.
I was Mark Kirk’s biggest booster on here and remain so, this is going to shock the professional punditry that believes you have to either be a rino or a winger, but you can be both. I’m sick of Dillard and Edgar, the party has been in the wilderness for 10 years and what exactly have they done besides keep their cred and plot his next move? Schock has spent more time living the life in dc than grinding away like Paul Ryan.
Also for the haters on Walsh please note he did better than schilling, biggert, and plummer the first tuesday of november despite facing the strongest opposition of them. If he learns to shut up, and he learned how to become a conservative so it’s doable, he could absolutely run a race. Look at that video-those people came out to see a lame duck congressman who probably didn’t represent half of them in an event put on by his congressional, not campaig office 2 weeks before christmas and passionately cheered him. You think dillard gets that kind of support in a REAL event this time next year as a candidate?
And yes-nominating a rauner/dillard/schock insider to play alfred to chicago city hall’s batman is not worth it. Not every candidate is awesome, but you shouldn’t have to stoop that low.
Aside from the laughter over his statements, I will say this. He is simply another Republican living in la-la land who has still yet to grasp that ultra-conservative candidates CANNOT WIN in Illinois. Although they came close, they couldn’t even beat a Governor who was Lt. Governor under Rod Blagojevich. I would also note that they LOST seats nationally and statewide to the Democrats when the state is in the worst budget shape it has been in probably ever. So, if you want to remain a losing party, go ahead and nominate somebody like Joe Walsh or another ultra-right wing Republican. I would suggest you don’t, though.
Regarding the exodus of Madigan staffers leaving, I would bet the conversation went something like this: Mapes to Issues staffer: “We have a veto-proof majority now and we are not hiring more staff. Therefore, you will have to work more members with less help. Oh, and by the way, we want you to commit to a two-year stint and work the next election cycle before leaving to lobby.”
Ummm, that was a district, not the state dude… Using that same logic Chris Lauzen could get elected governor because he did better Aurora than a more moderate republican running for state rep did in Kane County. A GOP primary is not a statewide election…
Sorry there are not enough angry ‘it sucks to be you’ folks in this state to elect a governor.
But seriously, you think Walsh could win a general election statewide for Governor?
- Just Observing - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 4:02 pm:
Walsh’s best chance at statewide office is Lt. Governor — for some reason it’s always under the radar and the one with best name ID often wins.
Mark Curran “intends” to run against Lisa Madigan.
So, is this a Joe Birkett-style “intends,” in which the bound-for-glory is riding a hunch that Lisa will run for higher office, only to “reconsider” after she announces for re-elect? Or is this a Stu Umholtz/Steve Kim-style “intends”, in which we are hearing from the next sacrificial GOP lamb for AG?
Place your bets, folks!
- western illinois - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 6:35 pm:
I think Atkinson is a progressive. I think he felt Lipinksi was too conservative so I dont think Labor would supprt Quinn
I think an old GOP fuddy duddy could do very well and could win