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More on Madigan’s desire to move the primary for Obama

Thursday, Jan 11, 2007

[Bumped upwards and excerpts added for discussion purposes.]

You can listen to Speaker Michael Madigan’s Wednesday afternoon media availability below.


* Sun-Times: State to flirt with date for Obama - Madigan backs moving up ‘08 presidential primary so Illinois voters can impact election

Illinois would join a slew of states eyeing Feb. 5 primaries or caucuses. But only four — Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina — would hold presidential contests sooner.

‘’These states are . . . clearly not as representative of America as Illinois would be,'’ Madigan said, adding that the Democratic presidential nomination might be unofficially clinched by Illinois’ current mid-March primary date.

* Tribune: Madigan: Earlier primary would help Obama bid

Madigan also said it was not decided whether primary contests for state offices, such as the legislature, would be held on the earlier date.

* AP: Madigan wants to aid Obama by changing primary date

Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, said he wants to discuss the idea with Obama, his political protege. ‘’This came out of the clear-blue sky. I don’t know whether that would help Obama or hurt him,'’ Jones said.

* Hotline Blog: IL To Move Primary To Help Obama?

“That’s like lowering the hoop for Shaq,” an aide to one of Obama’s potential rivals tells the Hotline.

* Daily Herald: A move to help Obama

State Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan said he doesn’t see Madigan’s point.

“I think Barack will carry Illinois without moving up the primary,” said Link, the Lake County Democratic chairman. “I’m not sure why this would be significant for Obama. His momentum will be when he carries Iowa and New Hampshire.”

* Copley: Madigan wants to move ‘08 primary to February - Would give state more clout, might boost Obama

Andy McKenna, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, did not take a position Wednesday on Madigan’s proposal.

“I think it’s healthy to fully examine the potential to make Illinois more relevant in the presidential primary process, but it’s bad precedent to craft significant change purely around the ambitions of one individual,” McKenna said.

Listen, read then discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Capt. Obvious - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 8:02 am:

    Wow…Madigan really carried the day and he kept the ball rolling with a rare interview on WGN-AM with Spike O’Dell. If he keeps talking to the media President Emil and GRod will need the heavy duty size Depends just to get through the day.

  2. - Northern Man - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 8:16 am:

    Madigan never does anything for anybody except Madigan (and Lisa). So what’s the motive? Obviously, he’s having trouble with the Black Caucus–showing such disrespect to Senate President Jones, and previously disparaging Obama as “the Messiah.” So now, like every other freaking politician in Illinois, he’s jumping on the bandwagon, hoping to capture some reflective support from Obama’s Afrian American base, to help quell rebellious initiatives among a crtical part of the Dem legislature.

  3. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 8:19 am:

    This is not interesting although it is entertaining. It’s more fun to fantasize about a world where Lisa is guv and Obambi is prez than to do the hard, tedious work of government.

    Madigan needs to stop the showmanship and start working on some real problems like universal health care, school funding, fixing the pension system, fixing DCFS, dealing with the new GASB accounting regs and their impact on the state budget and so on.

  4. - Bridget Dooley - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 8:36 am:

    Am I th only one who excited about the primary being moved to Feb. 5th? I would love for Illinois to become a hotbed of political activity during the Prez primaries! BUT, I think that Madigan is going to have to look very closely at the state party non-organization if we do this. If Illinois is going to become a major player in deciding the outcome of the primaries, we need a real party.

  5. - Crockett - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 8:41 am:

    I’m conflicted. Moving it earlier means we voters might actually have a say in choosing the two presidential candidates (great). But it will also mean a lot more political campaign commercials (ugh).

  6. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 8:43 am:

    I say we have the primary tomorrow! Besides, withthe cold weather, It’ll be easier for the machine to GOTV and keep others at home due to the weather.

  7. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 8:45 am:


    I’d be excited, if this weren’t a “one time only” change, as Madigan is proposing.

  8. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 8:54 am:

    GOP, if you listen to the tape or read some of the stories, MJM isn’t ruling out a permanent change.

  9. - Bill Baar - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 9:07 am:

    Maybe Madigan wants to help Illinois bloggers. This would boost readership.

  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 9:09 am:

    Bill, you got that right. lol

  11. - fedup dem - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 9:14 am:

    Madigan wants to protect those loyal House lackeys who bleated out his name earlier in the day during the roll call vote to re-elect him Speaker. He knows that Gov. Sleazy will be indicted sooner or later, and he doesn’t want that action to trigger a larger number of successful insurgent candidacies in Illinois House races in the 2008 Primary.

    By moving the Primary Election six weeks earlier, Madigan will move the filing period for legislative and most other offices to October 29 thru November 5 of this year, and moves the starting date for collecting petition signatures to the first week of August (17 months before the would-be legislators can take office). I guarantee you that action will deter many a primary challenger from even bothering to make an attempt in the next election cycle.

    Obama’s campaign is little more than a smokescreen for Madigan.

  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 9:17 am:

    “fedup dem” you might have a point if they were planning to have a unified primary date in ‘08, but no final decision has been made yet. Other states, particularly the early states, hold two primaries, one for prez and one for everybody else.

  13. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 9:19 am:

    My mistake then, Rich. I only read the Daily Herald article on the train today, and it refered to it as “one-time-only.”

    Also, I’ve updated my Illinoize piece on this, and let me just say this:

    If is is the case that this was done “for publicity purposes for Madigan, and to show he is reaching out to Obama for the first time,” then the Speaker is showing an uncharacteristically stunning lack of political acumen. I stand behind my analysis points (that Iowa and New Hampshire voters will be insulted by the Speaker’s assessment of them as ‘out of the mainstream,’ and Obama will have to answer for it and rebuke the state chair or his own Party; that Obama - unfair as it may be - will be slammed in other states for trying to rig the deck with a one-time-only homestate primary rescheduling; and that he stands to gain very little momentum from a win in his home state). I guess I assumed it was revenge because I gave the Speaker the benefit of the doubt. Anyone who understands the idiosyncrasies of presidential primaries would know that this could hurt Obama far more than it helps.

    Having the State Party Chair formally endorse Obama would have gotten Madigan all the publicity he really needed. And if anyone in his office with 1/2 a brain thought about what this might do to Obama’s campaign in the other early primary states, they’d have told him what I just did. So, I don’t think it’s too absurd to think that there might be much more to this than meets the eye. Either Madigan was shooting from the hip (which seems unlikely), or he intentionally (or indifferently) tried to get publicity off Obama in a way that could hurt him.

  14. - Dooley Dudright - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 9:47 am:

    “Madigan also said it was not decided whether primary contests for state offices, such as the legislature, would be held on the earlier date.”

    A bifurcated primary? How many millions of dollars (which, if memory serves, we don’t have) might THAT cost????

    Okay, if we have a FEDERAL primary (followed by a STATE primary), it ain’t just for Obama, people. It’s for Durbin and all the congressfolk, too.

    There’s a two-fer (if not a three-fer or four-fer) in that for Madigan: herd the disorganized Republicans (and unorganized Greens?) over the cliff even sooner in next year’s Senate “race”, and discourage challengers of all political persuasions for Congress.

    But oh……two different primaries. TWO DIFFERENT PRIMARIES? Oh……uh….you’ll have to… ….uhhhhhh…. …. excuse me……I think I’m going………to……….(thud).

  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 9:50 am:

    Some states force parties to pay for their prez primaries. That’s under discussion right now here.

  16. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 9:51 am:

    Has Blagojevich endorsed an Obama candidacy yet? With Madigan, Daley and Hynes already on board, what is keeping Rod-ent off the parade float?

    Oh yeah - ENVY.

    Changing the primary date is a good idea - with or without Obama.

  17. - Ali Bin Haddin - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 10:17 am:

    Such a deal! I should have invested in the company that makes those campaign yard signs. By the way, what happens if Hillary, sort of a daughter of Illinois, is in the race? And what if Obama looses to Hillary?

  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 10:21 am:

    “Ali Bin Haddin,” I don’t mean to single you out, but I’ve noticed that blog commenters here and all over the Internet can’t seem to spell “lose.” “Loose” is the opposite of “tight.” Maybe it’s an irony thing that I just don’t get, but the phenomenon is amazingly widespread.

  19. - Capt. Obvious - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    Apparently Sen. Link and Grand Old …are guzzling the same silly sauce
    The benefit to Illinois is the state gets back in the game of having an impact on the presidential nomination scene
    The benefit to Sen. Obama is that a large, diverse state takes sides early. It seems obvious, but then you guys get a little zany.
    If you do the research, you’ll party activists in both major parties have complained about this for years. The DNC did a national commission recently. They concluded that adding South Carolina and Utah could solve the problem…they were wrong.
    No one is dissing Iowa or New Hampshire , no one can seriously argue the voters there arer representaative of the nation.

  20. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 10:40 am:

    Which Chicago pols are going to appear with Barak when he announces? Who would you want to drag out of Barak’s past onto the national stage? Just how closely do we want to see Barak’s Chicago connections? Gee, these guys are so “squeakly clean”, it will be tough to decide, won’t it?

    Will there be any of his old Chicago Aldermen friends? How about his great Chicago Congressmen friends? Everyone knows what a great organization the Chicago Democratic Machine is to raise a future president!

    Just how far will Obama need to run from his roots? Illinoians have become pretty immuned to the Chicago Democratic scandals slithering out of the Loop daily. But what about voters outside Chicago? Will they take a look and really believe that Obama is a miraculous petunia growing in a dumpster full of rotting onions?

    I’m not advising other candidates, but if I was there would be no way I would allow Obama to scrap off the filth falling off his friends in the Chicago Democratic Party. Every week I would be parading another nutcase from Obama’s rolodex. Rezko will start making HUGE news. Blagojevich will continue being strip searched. Chicago aldermen with Obama connections will continue being indicted. A perfect narrative already written for any Barak opponent.

    Do you really believe voters want to reach into the Chicago dumpster in 2008? Not after his opponents are through, they won’t.

    Madigan better get that primary date moved forward before more of Barak’s old pals make news.

  21. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 10:42 am:

    Capt. Obvious -

    “The benefit to Sen. Obama is that a large, diverse state takes sides early”

    Yeah….a state that he is already expected to win with about 110% of the vote. Any showing worse than that in a spotlighted Illinois primary will seen as a sign of weakness. And even if he meets expectations, it will be dismissed by pundits as not being relevant because it’s his home state.

    “If you do the research, you’ll party activists in both major parties have complained about this for years.”

    Not in Iowa and New Hampshire, they haven’t. And that’s my point.

    If you think that saying Iowa and New Hampshire voters are not representative of mainstream America is not “dissing” them, then you obviously don’t know much about early Presidential primaries. Voters in those states are VERY protective of their early primary status. In Roll Call yesterday, there was a story that talked about how many Iowa voters still haven’t forgiven McCain for skipping their caucus in 2000, and thus won’t support him this year.

  22. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 10:46 am:

    GOP, they only get upset when states try to leapfrog ahead of them. They’ll still have their influence, which is ridiculous, if you ask me. I have long thought that this system needs to be changed. New Hampshire can bite me.

  23. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 10:58 am:


    Due respect, but I think you’re wrong. I think Iowa and New Hampshire will get upset about Obama’s home state party chair saying that “these states are not representative of mainstream America. They’re clearly not as representative of America as Illinois would be.” Petty as it may seem to us here in Illinois, that is the sort of things that can ruffle feathers there. You don’t think political reporters in Iowa and New Hampshire are going to ask Obama if he agrees with that statement?

  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 11:04 am:

    Let ‘em ask. Obama can handle himself. The truth is they aren’t representative of America and they have too much influence in our politics.

  25. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 11:12 am:

    Some might say that a dark-Blue state that hasn’t been in play for the general election since 1988 is really that representative of America, either.

    If we’re going to be really fair and objective about it, why not front-load the calendar with bellweathers: Ohio, Florida, Missouri, etc.

    If Obama doesn’t take any hit from this, more power to him. But I can tell you this: Obama’s seasoned, national level political advisors would never have suggested that he, or anyone else in Illinois, pursue this, especially in this way. And there’s a darned good reason for that.

    That’s the last I’ll say about this (here, at least).

  26. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 11:16 am:

    After New Hampshire bites Rich, it can bite me too. The idea that anyone would be upset with any candidate not wanting to play games with New Hampshire or Iowa will not derail anyone’s presidential ambitions.

    Also even when Obama carries Illinois it would be about as important as when Tsongas carried NH in 1992. None. In both cases, they are supposed to carry them. Thats not news, and it won’t help.

  27. - Backyard Conservative - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 11:17 am:

    I think GOP makes good points, it may hurt Obama, but that certainly doesn’t bother me.

    TWO primaries is a horrible idea, as is a one-time only move.

    I also agree wholeheartedly with Vanilla Man. And you get bet Hillary, with her Illinois connections, will selectively stir the stink from behind the scenes.

  28. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 11:19 am:

    Okay, actually one more thing:

    From the Daily Herald article:

    “Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr. said he wanted to talk to Obama because he’s not sure whether Madigan’s plan helps or hurts.”

    For what it’s worth.

  29. - Land o' Lincoln - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 11:21 am:

    As a Republican in central Illinois, I think that moving the primary will be great for both parties. It will help Obama, and as a favorite son, I would want him to win if we have to endure a democrat as President. Plus, I worked on staff when he was a Senator and I do think the guy is very smart and handles himself extremely well. I don’t like his policies, but I can’t think of a democrat presidential candidate that would be more acceptable. As a Republican, I want McCain or Giuliani to be the nominee. Moving the primary to Feb 5 will help both of them and really help their fundraising in Illinois. This is a win-win for both parties and the voters of the state that finally get to be a part of the process. It always pains me to say so, but Mike Madigan is one clever democrat!

  30. - Veritas - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 11:32 am:

    Am I the only one surprised at just how clueless State Senator Link’s statement is? Of course Obama is going to carry Illinois regardless of when the primary takes place, but having an early victory under his belt at the beginning of primary season will garner him a lot of momentum which will undoubtedly carry over into primaries in other states.

  31. - Squideshi - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 12:32 pm:

    It is arrogant for Mike Madigan to make a reference to “both” parties, rather than “all” parties. There are three legally established, statewide, major political parties in Illinois–the Democratic Party of Illinois, the Illinois Green Party, and the Illinois Republican Party. I wouldn’t be surprised if the bill is drafted in such a way that it attempts to benefit only the Democrats and Republicans, in violation of equal protection and free and equal elections. They did something like this back in 2004, when they changed state election law to allow the Illinois Republican Party to certify their presidental candidate after the legal deadline (They missed the deadline in Illinois because they wanted to hold their national nominating convention in New York in September.) Regardless, the Green Party now has an automatic ballot line in Illinois; so moving up the primary will certainly help put the Green candidate into the national spotlight sooner.

  32. - Getting Jonesed - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 4:23 pm:

    Looks like the President got caught flat footed…again. Sen. Cullerton got him tongue tied too.

  33. - fedup dem - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 5:08 pm:

    Rich, do you seriously think we would have TWO Primaries? Are you going to foot the bill for the election judges for the second one?

  34. - Benny - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 5:26 pm:

    I’d be interested in what Downstaters think about this one, especially the bigger wheels in McLean county.

  35. - Michael Madigan - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 6:25 pm:

    I simply want a Cabinet post from Obama, don’t you know.

    I’ll be Secretary of…………..and my daughter Governor of Illinois (yeah right)

  36. - Getting Jonesed - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 6:35 pm:

    Sen. Watson seems to be leaning “yea” on the that downstate enough?

  37. - Benny - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 7:55 pm:

    Well, I got my answer from the Pentagraph this evening:

    SPRINGFIELD — A top Illinois fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards says moving the state’s 2008 primary election to boost U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s chances is a bad idea.

    David Dorris, a trial lawyer from McLean County, said Thursday that a proposal floated Wednesday by House Speaker Michael Madigan “just doesn’t sound right to me.”

    “There’s something that just strikes me that it’s not right to manipulate the date for one specific candidate,” said Dorris, who has hosted a number of big-dollar fundraising events for the senator from North Carolina.

    Madigan, who also is chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, suggested that Illinois should bump its 2008 primary date from March 18 to February 5. He said the move would help Obama build momentum if he decides to run for the White House.

  38. - Loyal Whig - Thursday, Jan 11, 07 @ 11:20 pm:

    Sure, Mike Madigan did this for political reasons. Sure, it may help Obama. It is a good idea. Make Illinois a player in selecting the Dem and GOP candidate. New Hamphire, Iowa, South Carolina-why do they decide who the nominees will be?

  39. - CoffeeGroup - Wednesday, Jan 17, 07 @ 2:39 am:

    “Government should be of laws rather than of men.” One of my favorite quotes that keeps me on the right path. Unfortunately in Illinois, it’s the path less traveled.

    I’m mad again at Madigan - The one making the laws quickly moves to break the rules like they’re careless suggestions.

    Napoleon Bonaparte:

    “If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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