* No surprise here, the Tribune believes that House Speaker Michael Madigan should step aside if Attorney General Lisa Madigan decides to run for governor…
But tension between the two branches protects the citizens much, much better than coziness between the branches. Illinois leaders, unfortunately, have managed to come together often enough to sink the state into massive debt by borrowing, spending and promising money they didn’t have.
The risk here is that a father and daughter cannot, will not, serve as fundamental checks on each other.
Simply writing off conflict-of-interest concerns under “trust me” proclamations will not suffice.
There is real risk that politics would trump the effective functioning of the state during a campaign. If Lisa Madigan runs against fellow Democrat Quinn, Michael Madigan will be in the position of actively seeking to crush the incumbent — and his policy agenda — at the same time they attempt to co-manage the state. Every government action by Michael Madigan will be suspect: Is he putting Illinois first or Lisa first?
There are plenty of questions for Lisa Madigan, should she run for governor. Does she support an extension of the state income tax increase that was shepherded through the House by her father? Will she support pension reform, which has stalled in her father’s House?
But the key question will be the concentration of so much power in one family.
A decade ago, when then-state Sen. Lisa Madigan was elected attorney general, she was able to navigate questions about potential conflicts between her new role and her father’s role as speaker. She has from time to time signaled political independence, most notably when she stood firm against a heavily clouted bid to steer a casino to Rosemont amid questions about the influence of organized crime in the deal. She did well under pressure and she prevailed; we remember that.
But the relationship of a governor and House speaker does not come down to the occasional disagreement. It’s a daily do-si-do. People must have confidence that these two leaders can serve as checks on each other.
Lisa Madigan’s campaign announcement — if she makes one — should include the addendum that her father plans to step aside.
* And NBC5 looks at the historical hurdles…
Even though Quinn is trying to ignore Madigan, the 2014 primary is only 14 months away, and the campaign has begun. There’s an old saying in politics that AG doesn’t just stand for attorney general, it also stands for aspiring governor. That’s certainly the case in Illinois. If Madigan runs, she’ll be the fourth consecutive attorney general to seek the governorship. Here’s how her predecessors fared.
Neil Hartigan: won the Democratic nomination for governor in 1990; lost to Jim Edgar.
Roland Burris: lost Democratic primaries for governor in 1998 and 2002.
Jim Ryan: won the Republican nomination for governor in 2002; lost to Rod Blagojevich.
In fact, no Illinois attorney general has ever gone on to serve as governor, although Ninian Edwards, who served in 1834 and 1835, was the son of a governor, and Otto Kerner Sr. (1933-38) was the father of a governor.