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Cohen’s letter filed and black central committee members slam Madigan

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Democratic Party of Illinois filed paperwork this morning with the State Board of Elections withdrawing Scott Lee Cohen from the lt. governor’s race. Cohen gave his withdrawal letter to the party on Friday.

But every African-American member of the state central committee sent out a press release yesterday announcing that they’re unhappy with party chairman Michael Madigan’s latest moves. From the release…

Today several members of the Illinois Democratic State Central Committee sent a scathing letter to Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan to express their concern about his interest in abolishing the constitutional office of Lieutenant Governor. Calling the proposal “premature,” party officials also questioned the chairman’s political motives saying that such a decision would “profoundly alter the state’s electoral and succession processes.”

Authors of the missive include Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-1CD), State Representative Constance “Connie” Howard (D-1CD), Congressman Jesse L Jackson (D-2CD), Jr., Alderman Carrie Austin (D-2CD), Congressman Danny K Davis (D-7CD), State Representative Karen A. Yarbrough (D-7CD) and Committeeman James K. Polk (D-18CD). The unique coalition is a powerful voting bloc within the Democratic Party base, with each committee member representing nearly every African-American vote in the State of Illinois.

Their bloc of votes could be the deciding factor in who fills the open seat for Lieutenant Governor in a vote that is expected in March.

From the letter…

As Speaker, you of course can offer a Constitutional Amendment that would profoundly alter the State’s electoral and succession processes. However, advancing legislation that impacts the Democratic Party without a discussion or an endorsement from the Democratic Party leadership is premature. There should be no divergent interests between you in your role as party chairman and us in our role as party committeemen and committeewomen. Therefore, prior to your public announcement about your support of the elimination of a constitutional office, the Democratic State Central Committee should have been consulted.

The members also say they want a more open process…

The Party Chairman and Democratic State Central Committee must set forth uniform, comprehensive and transparent criteria for this selection. We believe that, among the criteria, our party leadership should be publically advancing a vetting process that considers a candidate’sexperience; public record; electoral viability; ability to strengthen the Party’s overall ticket; and the candidate’s overall electability. A candidate’s ability to raise resources as well as geographic, racial and gender balance should also be considered as the Central Committee fills this vacancy.

Madigan responded via his spokesman…

The chairman will take the vetting suggestions under review. He disagrees with the notion that a member of the General Assembly should check with a political committee before introducting legislation

* Meanwhile, Congressman Jackson may have tipped his hand the other day

While Jackson said he didn’t favor one person, his description of the ideal candidate seemed to match a certain Chicago alderman. His wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), considered running for lieutenant governor last year.

“The ticket needs some excitement,” Jackson said. “It needs someone to capture the imagination of the electorate by selecting someone who knows how to run a campaign, who knows how to respond quickly to prisoner release ads and to Harold Washington ads and to the state’s deficit woes. That candidate has to bring resources nationally, and it’s hard to imagine the existing candidates, who couldn’t beat a pawnbroker in the primary process, are capable of beating a lumberjack in the general election.”

Rep. Howard was forthright in her support of Rep. Art Turner

“If Miss America made some not-so-wholesome decisions and she was moved out of the way, No. 2 would be the person,” Howard said in explaining her support so far for Turner. “When the No. 1 person can’t do it, No. 2 moves up. (Turner) is very qualified. He’s well respected by all members of the caucus and by members on the other side of the aisle.”

So, black members of the central committee appear divided for now on who should replace Cohen, but they’re united in their criticism of Madigan.

This selection process is in danger of flying way out of control. Maybe Rep. Franks does have the right idea and they should just leave it open.

* Sheila Simon said she’d love to get the call

Though she said it would be highly unlikely, SIUC law professor Sheila Simon said she would “say yes quickly” if the State Central Committee of the Democratic Party asked her to run for Illinois lieutenant governor.

Glenn Poshard said he’s not interested…

Poshard said he has not contacted Gov. Pat Quinn or any of Quinn’s representatives in relation to the position, and he has absolutely no interest in doing so.

“I have a job here, I have a new contract (as university president) and that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of my career,” Poshard said.

…Adding… They’re coming out of the woodwork, campers…

An Olivet Nazarene University professor has thrown his hat into the crowded field of Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor following Scott Lee Cohen’s abrupt resignation last week.

And, 40-year-old Jesse Lee Maggitt, a Plainfield resident and professor of military science at Olivet for the past year, hopes it will catapult him into politics.

* Related…

* Lawmakers trying to sort our future of lieutenant governor’s office

* Two proposals would make next lite gov the last one

* Mike Lawrence: Fix lt. governor process, but don’t overreact


  1. - ChicagoRick - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 10:30 am:

    I certainly hope Congressman Jackson isn’t seriously pushing his wife for the lite gov seat. After the Senate seat debacle, I don’t see anyone in Illinois (outside his own district) voting for a Jackson for many, many years.

  2. - MOON - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 10:41 am:


    Under the present circumstances we have no Lt. Gov.. In the event someone needed to replace Quinn who would that person be or how is that person chosen?

  3. - excessively rabid - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 10:41 am:

    candidate’sexperience - Heh heh. Typo in original?

    that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of my career,” Poshard said. Please let it be brief.

  4. - Lakefront Liberal - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 10:43 am:

    Rich, I know that in your column you discounted the idea of Boland as Lt. Governor but I hope that he is given serious consideration.

    Personally I like him because of his progressive track record. He also stated at the IVI-IPO endorsement session that his top priorities as Lt. Gov would be job creation and public financing of campaigns. The first is obviously a priority but the second is one I am particularily interested in — I would love to have a Lt. Governor who would use his bully pulpit for this cause.

    But beyond my own personal interests I think there are other things to recommend him. He certainly has legislative experience and a knowledge of state government (unlike Castillo for example), and though he did poorly overall he did very well downstate. This would provide some balance and could help the ticket overall.

  5. - What the heck - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    The last thing the Democratic Party needs is a Lt. Governor candidate (Sandi jackson) with a husband who could be all over the news in the fall, i.e blago trail and his own House ethics investigation. Get serious Congressmen Jackson, your wife has been a less then average aldermen.
    A Sheila Simon, Senator William Haine, Senator john Sullivan or Senator James Clybourne would be better choices! There is a whole big state south of I-80!!!!

  6. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 10:46 am:

    Hmmm, Bobby Rush, Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson all agree we should keep the Lt. Governor’s position? I assume they each have someone in mind for the nomination too.

    As far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to do away with this meaningless office.

  7. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 10:46 am:

    LL, the guy came in fourth. How do you justify skipping over Turner to pick him? Also, if he is somehow chosen, how will your party defend his grant of a legislative scholarship to his top campaign contributor?

  8. - Lakefront Liberal - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    On a seperate note I think it is exciting to see some of the members of the Dem State Central Committee wake from what seemed like a permanent slumber and start forming coalitions and voicing their opinion. It will be fascinating to see how this all turns out.

  9. - Deep South - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:02 am:

    How about a “downstate” woman?

  10. - Deep South - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:03 am:

    Who’s not named Simon.

  11. - Lakefront Liberal - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:06 am:

    Rich Miller: “LL, the guy came in fourth. How do you justify skipping over Turner to pick him? Also, if he is somehow chosen, how will your party defend his grant of a legislative scholarship to his top campaign contributor?”

    What justification is there for considering candidates who came in zero because they didn’t run? If we are opening it up to people who didn’t run then the decision should be based on considerations like experience, ability help the ticket, etc., and not on performance in the primary. If we are NOT opening it up then yes, it is pretty hard to justify picking anyone other than Art Turner. The only justification would be to put someone downstate on the ticket and that may not be justification enough. Perhaps another justification would be choosing someone who would best advance the Governor’s agenda or the Illinois Dem Party’s agena — but that would require knowing what those are. :-)

    Regarding the scholarship grant — I don’t know enough specifics to offer an opinon on how damaging I think it would be. To be honest I had forgotten about it so thanks for the heads up so I can look into it a bit before I continue to push this.

  12. - Dan S, a voter and Cubs Fan - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:18 am:

    Sound like the Illinois Democrats have all the organization of a train wreck.

  13. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    If the Lt Gov candidates couldn’t win a race where their competitor abused and tried to rape his wife when he wasn’t decompressing over roids and cutting prostitutes, I think they should be disqualified immediately.

    Just sayin’.

    It wasn’t like Cohen hid his past, he spoke about it and it wasn’t like these records were sealed either.

  14. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:28 am:

    Will Jesse Jackson Jr ever learn?

    He is besotten over these political opportunities and has burned himself almost out of a job just a year ago. He either is incapable of understanding how twisted his ethics appears to Illinoisans, or so detached from reality he believes his own BS.

    Like Burris with his Mausoleum of Destiny, Jackson has his Appointments with Destiny. Both men are laughingstocks because of their self-obsessions. A guy can love his wife, and think the world of her - but someone needs to give this guy a cold shower.

    Congressman Jackson, remove yourself from the microphone. We haven’t forgotten you and your little team, even though you have given us real reasons to try. Your political grasping over appointed political positions is embarrassing. You blew your chances big time just a year ago. Let us all pretend that was a misunderstanding - not a crazy obsessive pattern of yours. OK?

  15. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    Ugh. I’m sure retaining the useless LG office is at the top of the list of every black voter in the state.

    Perhaps Rep. Davis should check in with the state central committee before he carries the water for the usurious “rent-to-own” interests in Congress.

  16. - Capfax reader - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    I agree with John Bambenek. The other Lt. Gov candidates shouldn’t even be considered for nomination because none of them ran a good campaign against Cohen. Even if Cohen had $2 mil of his own money, and the others didn’t, none of them even used the free media to bring attention to Cohen’s past.

  17. - Amalia - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    Howard’s Miss America example is just silly. Art, Rich Miller said it best, you lost to Scott Lee Cohen. supporters of all the candidates who lost to Cohen should let the party move on to someone who did not lose.

  18. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 11:37 am:

    other states manage just fine WITHOUT a lt. governor, Illinois can too. in fact Illinois has managed fine without one for more than one year.

    black pols need to STOP with the “we want one of our own” in this or that position. the entitlment and whining gets to be a bit much, and after the Roland Burris issue I don’t think it gets black pols much sympathy with the public, if it ever really did. why not just run on your own merits, run well, and actually win to get the top positions, instead of demanding hand-outs? did black pols learn nothing from the examples of harold washington or barack obama?

    the lt. gov’s office needs to be eliminated. the dems did not like the guy who ran on his own merits, ran well, and actually won this year. but, they don’t want to do away with the office to avoid the same thing from happening again. the dems have a real problem, and it is themsleves more than it was scott lee cohen or anyone. let’s keep in mind that it was the dems who gave illinois blago TWICE, despite claiming after his arrest that they knew he was bad from day one. moving foward I don’t know how we can trust their credibility or judgment on anything with respect to the affairs of the the state.

    do the illinois dems know how to do anything right?

  19. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:09 pm:

    The only advantage the Lt Gov post has is that it makes succession easy without disrupting other offices with a vacancy. If AG was next in line, say, AG would become Gov and then you’d have the AG office adrift. It’s not a big deal. But then again, the Governor appoints a replacement when there is a vacancy in a constitutional office (except in the case of LG). Imagine the bidding process for that appointment. You’re getting a taste of that now with the SLC fallout.

    It’s easily solved by making House Speaker or Senate President next in line and then go back to constitutionals. In a mass casuality incident involving the line of succession, those problems become very very minor considerations. But it’s not beyond the realm to have the Governor die or be otherwise removed.

  20. - Indeedy - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:22 pm:

    “The chairman . . . disagrees with the notion that a member of the General Assembly should check with a political committee before introducting (sic) legislation”

    Dang, that’s kinda cold, isn’t it? It’s also an interesting moment to contextualize the Dem Party as just some pac.

  21. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:26 pm:

    Keep Lt. Gov; I think it provides continuity. If you must, give the office some official duties. Most important: let the Gov. candidate pick his/her running mate at the petition stage or after the primary (like the Pres.) The Dem Cent Comm should ask Quinn to pick a running mate and rubber stamp his pick. It’s his running mate, he should get to pick.

  22. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:32 pm:

    While i agree the state can do withoutm a lt gov and get rid o0f comptroller while your at it. I wonder why Madigan forced SLC out of the race but never saw the need to throw Rep.Kevin joyce under the bus following his arrest or Rep bob Rita after his Domestic problems. Maybe Madigan really isnt bothered by violent behavior of Domestic abuse as long as your one of his guys.

  23. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:38 pm:

    fed up, Rita was not guilty. Joyce was attacked at a concert by a part-time security guard. Big dif, dude. Big.

  24. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:44 pm:

    SLC charges were dismissed just like the charges against Joyce. Rita was arrested the same as SLC Madigan didnt throw them under the bus. SLC wasnt convicted just like the other two. Only differance is they are Madigan guys.

  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:45 pm:

    fed up, don’t be a goofball. You know very well that there’s a huge difference here in the quality and the quantity of the allegations.

  26. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:53 pm:

    Rich I am sure you have met Bob Rita I have. If he is good enough to overlook when it come to Domestic violence how bad can SLC be.
    And according to the paper you write for Joyce was not some innocent victim.
    State Rep. Kevin Joyce (D-Chicago) is accused of grabbing a security guard by the neck in the parking lot shortly after 1 a.m. At the time, the security guard and a Tweeter Center usher were restraining two 21-year-olds believing they had urinated on a vehicle, according to police.

    “I saw a physical altercation involving young guys from the neighborhood who I’ve known a long time, and I attempted to intervene,” Joyce, 33, said Tuesday.

    Joyce approached the security guard from behind and grabbed him to move him away from the two 21-year-olds, Sean Carey and Thomas Brown, the police report stated.

    Joyce, who was charged with battery, denied he grabbed the security guard by the neck, according to the report.

    Carey and Brown told police they were not the ones relieving themselves. They said the usher and security officer confused them with someone else nearby who was urinating on a red Chevy Camaro. They said the staff was “unjustified in apprehending them,” according to the police report.

    Joyce, Carey and Brown were escorted to the Tweeter Center security office. The Tinley Park police officer who responded to the call wrote in his report that all three appeared “intoxicated.”

  27. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 12:59 pm:

    ===how bad can SLC be.===

    A whole lot worse than you apparently seem capable of comprehending.

  28. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 1:03 pm:

    Dont know SLC agree he shouldnt hold office just think Madigan is playing favorites when it comes to enforcing some type of code of conduct for Dems.

  29. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    fed up, correct me if I’m wrong, but I see that you are basically arguing for zero tolerance of any allegations rather than common sense.

  30. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 1:16 pm:

    No just wondering why the incidents are being treated differntly. SLC wasnt Madigans guy Turner was. Rita is a Madigan guy same problem differnt way of handling it. Joyce he’s just there to show Madigan doesnt care what you do just as long as you vote like he tells you.

  31. - Spiney Norman - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 1:17 pm:

    Instead of eliminating the post of Lite Gov. How about giving the position some teeth, like being the president of the Senate. Good enough for the Feds.

  32. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 1:19 pm:

    ===Rita is a Madigan guy===

    Actually, Rita was an Emil Jones guy when he first ran. Rita’s father and Jones went way, way back.

  33. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 1:28 pm:

    Linking him to Emil makes him more suspect in my book but he still votes the way he is told. SLC maybe a scumbag but in Ill that doesnt mean you cant get elected.

  34. - Scooby - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 2:04 pm:


    We’re almost up to 64 teams for the big tournament to begin.

  35. - Dooley Dudright - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 2:50 pm:

    Earlier today, the ISBE website showed Cohen as “withdrawal pending”.

    But that’s been taken down. And it’s back to showing him as “active”.

    What gives? Surely Mike Kasper didn’t forget to deliver the mail!

  36. - QRBNST - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 4:00 pm:

    Assuming I have the pronunciation of his name last right, I would suggest that Mr. Maggitt consider changing it before entering politics.

  37. - really? - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 4:18 pm:

    Plummer was called a lumberjack? What is wrong with that? Not a clever remark. And, tho SLC has problems, what is inherently wrong with being a pawnbroker?

  38. - winco - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 4:52 pm:

    is the letter from the black State Central Committee members available anywhere?

  39. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 6:35 pm:

    No guarantees on this one, but Tammy Duckworth or Sheila Simon would be brilliant, outstanding choices–a progressive, popular WOMAN (gee, that always helps about 1/2 the electorate pick EASILY!) from OUTSIDE of Chicago (in this election likely a key factor). If TD was chosen, shucks, BO might even head back here to push the ticket (and here, of course, he’s still quite popular) and she’d certainly bring some “excitement” and charisma (let alone the “compassion” vote as a severely-wounded vet. in time of war). Simon? The NAME pretty much says it all, instant credibility because of beloved Dad Paul, and likely a definite edge, once again (and/or sentimental motivator), in the downstate (and particularly Southern Il.) vote. Either one likely makes “Win with Quinn” a “shoe-in!”

  40. - Robert - Tuesday, Feb 16, 10 @ 9:45 pm:

    I think the group that wrote the letter has a really great point - the criteria for selecting a LG should be transparent, and I like that their criteria goes beyond who finished second and race - experience, electability and fundraising ability were listed. I like electability as the #1 criteria, but good to see that they are trying to discuss what the criteria should be. Am I nuts to worry that Mike Madigan’s criteria might be “whoever will help Quinn to lose so I can position my daughter well?”

  41. - DM - Wednesday, Feb 17, 10 @ 5:20 am:

    Of course Jesse Jr. wants this job for his wife Sandi Stevens-Jackson. He could then possibly take her consulting company, J. Donatella & Associates, off of the payroll of his campaign committee.
    Furthermore, they would not have to keep up the pretext of actually living in the 7th ward (they actually live in DC, as well as the kids go to school in DC - she flies in for City Council meetings).

    She would also be able to take her sister Tina Stevens off of her City Council payroll (at $50,000 per year) and could put her on the State payroll.

    I think Jr. has enough horses in the fall election. Besides himself, Robin Kelly and David Miller are both from the Jackson farm team, a fact that they are not advertising too loudly now.

  42. - really? - Wednesday, Feb 17, 10 @ 6:51 am:

    = Am I nuts to worry that Mike Madigan’s criteria might be “whoever will help Quinn to lose so I can position my daughter well=

    maybe LOL

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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