* As subscribers have known for a while, House Speaker Michael Madigan is backing indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith in his five-way Democratic primary. The Sun-Times takes a look…
“We support incumbents,” Madigan’s longtime spokesman Steve Brown said when asked about the speaker’s endorsement of Smith. “He’s an incumbent.”
The indictment isn’t a factor?
“I believe — let me go back and check — oh, yeah, that’s right, I believe you are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Brown said. “Isn’t that right?”
Uh, yeah, that’s right.
“Great,” Brown said. “Is that all?”
All right then, we offered you a chance and received no rousing defense of Smith. There was not even faint praise for us to convey to the voters of Smith’s diverse 10th Illinois House District, which covers an area from Lincoln Park to West Garfield Park.
All that matters is Smith is Madigan’s guy, and he hasn’t been convicted.
Smith received support from Madigan in the 2012 primary, but not when Smith faced a third party candidate in the general election because Smith had been ejected from the House by then. Now, he’s back. Madigan will need his vote on various things this spring, so he’s being supported.
It’s just cold calculation. Keep your members well-fed and happy and they’ll follow along.
* Meanwhile, Madigan’s ducklings often say stuff like this, but freshman Democratic state Rep. Kathleen Willis is being more than a bit ludicrous here…
“I’m not going to deny that I have the support of the Illinois Democrats, but they don’t control me,” Willis said. “I value my independence.”
She was plucked by Madigan from almost complete obscurity to challenge longtime GOP Rep. Skip Saviano. She walked a lot of precincts, but the Madigan operation did pretty much everything for her, and that hand-holding continues to this day.
I mean, her Democratic primary opponent raised less than $2K last quarter and yet Willis has a Madigan campaign staffer in her district. That says something.
She was at an event in her district not long ago and confused the state Constitution’s drafting date with the establishment dates for the state’s pension funds, according to a top Democrat who was there and shaking his head in disbelief.
Willis is the perfect Madigan legislator: She loves walking precincts, but is otherwise dependent in almost every way.
*** UPDATE *** Speaking of ducklings…
House Speaker Michael Madigan has too much power, but it’s not clear what can be done about it, state Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, said Tuesday.
Scherer, speaking to The State Journal-Register editorial board, said she was frustrated that a bill calling for Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. to bring jobs to the city wasn’t called for a vote in December.
“I felt like I had to support it because of the number of jobs,” Scherer said. “I went to the speaker numerous times and asked him to call it for a vote. For whatever reasons, he didn’t call it for a vote.”
Asked if she thought Madigan had too much power, Scherer simply replied, “yes,” before adding that she does not know what can be done about it. Scherer said the fact Madigan provided several hundred thousand dollars to her 2012 election campaign, along with other staff support, didn’t make any difference.
What a goofy thing to say. She doesn’t know what can be done about Madigan’s power? How about voting against Madigan for Speaker? How about voting against Madigan’s House rules?
I’m just speechless at this response of hers.