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*** UPDATED x1 *** The father problem and the rumor mill

Friday, Jun 28, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* David Axelrod says the obvious: Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s father issue is gonna be a big problem if she runs for governor

“I think Lisa is a tremendous public official. I have a maximum high regard for her,” he said. “I think this is a genuine problem. I think it’s one she has to resolve before she makes a decision.”

How she resolves it is between her and her father, he said.

“I think as talented and as strong a candidate as she is, it’s going to be hard to make the case that the governor and the Speaker of the House can be father and daughter . . . particularly when the Speaker is as powerful as this Speaker is,” he said. “People want the branches of government to be independent. No matter what your intentions, it’s going to be very hard for them to persuade people that’s going to be the case. I think it’s an issue for her to resolve. I’m sure there are many reasons for her to consider running but this seems like an issue for her to resolve.”

It was difficult to think of a politically palatable scenario where Michael Madigan remained in his position while his daughter ran for governor, Axelrod said.

“I think that’s very hard, I really think that’s really hard,” Axelrod said. “I say that without a trace of animus at all. I really admire her, I like her, she’s a great person and great political official.”

It was a real problem in 2002, when she ran for attorney general, but the decision was made to forge ahead regardless. It’ll be an even bigger problem now. The question is, does she want to deal with such a brutal campaign.

* For her part, at least publicly, AG Madigan says her father can stay right where he is

Madigan, after serving on a panel Thursday hosted by the influential Emily’s List at Willis Tower, was unequivocal when posed the question now being constantly raised. “He wouldn’t have to. He wouldn’t have to step down,” she retorted to a reporter, emphasizing the move would not be a requirement.

Asked then — if not a requirement — whether she believed he should step down should she make a 2014 gubernatorial bid, Madigan was more cagey.

“I’m not going to give my father political advice,” she said.

* I’m gonna give you the same advice I gave to subscribers this morning. Do not read too much into the tea leaves and ignore the rumors. Nothing is confirmed so far. Just let it play out.

With that in mind

Moderated by MSNBC’s Karen Finney, [the “Strength in Numbers: Women Leading the Way,” forum] was a frank and intimate discussion of the challenges facing women running for and managing life in political office, by a group dedicated to increasing their numbers nationwide.

On stage, Madigan was asked by Finney the other frequent question. Will she run?

“Well, here’s what I will say. First and foremost, there are other pieces of this that are absolutely a necessity if you’re a woman, and that is the support of other women. I’m very lucky that that base is there,” Madigan responded.

“In terms of decision-making, a lot of fundraising is going on, and now I have a treadmill in my office so I can walk as I make those calls. Yes, you will have a decision sooner rather than later,” she said. […]

“Emily’s has been proud to support Lisa from the beginning. We think she’s done a fantastic job as attorney general, and we do think she would make a fantastic governor,” Schriock said.

* Also keeping that admonition in mind, Sneed

Sneed hears Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who continues to be the recipient of big bucks fundraisers, has told people privately she plans to wait another four years to run for governor.

Isn’t that because her father, powerful Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan — who is considered a political liability for her — has no intention of retiring in the near future? Betcha.

Isn’t that a sigh of relief Sneed is hearing from Dem gubernatorial hopeful Bill Daley? Betcha.

I heard the same rumor yesterday, and worked it but was unable to find anyone she’d talked to.

That LMadigan revelation, by the way, was the third Sneedling down, behind two Blackhawks-related items.

I love Sneed. Truly, I do. She’s invaluable. But what she wrote today is just a rumor at this point.

*** UPDATE *** After some commenters wondered aloud where AG Madigan was using a treadmill to make campaign calls, I checked with her office and was told the treadmill is at her campaign office. So, there ‘ya go.


  1. - Keyrock - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 9:19 am:

    I understand your love for Oscar. But for Sneed?

  2. - Stones - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 9:22 am:

    My feeling is that she just hasn’t decided yet. Simple as that.

  3. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 9:25 am:

    Sneed has a 50/50 shot of looking in the know on this one….

  4. - cassandra - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 9:25 am:

    If she’s really interested in the job, that’s a risk. A lot of people thought the President should wait, too, but if he had, he probably would still be waiting out eight years of Hillary, if he even bothered to stay in the running.

    On the other hand, if she is hoping something better might come along in the interim, it makes sense.

    Still, if a prominent candidate for governor really believes she can wait another four years and be confident of winning, that doesn’t say much for Illinois’ political bench. There are no promising younng competitors in sight? Feels a lot like a monarchy, really. And we brought it on ourselves.

  5. - OurMagician - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 9:33 am:

    Is fantastic really the word to use her time so far as Atty General?

  6. - Ahoy! - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 9:45 am:

    There will most likely always be a brutal campaign when you have a real primary challenge (as opposed to token opposition) with a sitting governor, who her dad is aside, it would be a tough election.

    I”m wondering if this would be a brutal campaign in the general with the state of the Illinois Republican party right now. In fact, I’m pretty sure they would stick their foot in their mouth over and over again to where they might do her more favors than provide her with a real challenge. It seems to me that the Republican party has three white old men with old ideas and a guy who doesn’t even know who he is. Outside of Rauenr’s personal wealth, Democrats have to be licking their chops to face off against those guys.

    All that being said, it is fun to watch.

  7. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    I find it hard to believe she hasn’t made up her mind one way or the other.

  8. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 9:58 am:

    I’ve heard people close to the speaker say what Sneed claims someone close to Lisa is saying. I wonder if she knows they are not the same thing.

  9. - ZC - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    People do make last minute decisions. Glenn Poshard was this/close to jumping into the governor’s race in 2002, before he changed his mind. But partly it was because he waited too long and some early supporters committed elsewhere.

  10. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    I’m astonished that Axelrod was that frank. Not that I think he was wrong, but one has to wonder if he’s carrying a message. Those words — no matter how much he tried to soften them — were blunt.

  11. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    I’m not astonished LL. He was just offering up the same analysis that so many of us have. This is an issue that will not go away. Is they deal with it, she could be governor. If they don’t, she probably won’t.

  12. - walkinfool - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    The only thing I’ve heard is that she will end the suspense before July 4. But that’s just rumor too.

    Way to stay top-of-mind, Lisa!

    Bruce who? Kirk who? a Brady’s running? a Daley too?

  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    ===The only thing I’ve heard is that she will end the suspense before July 4.===

    Only if she’s not running. Nobody announces a major bid over a holiday weekend.

  14. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 11:36 am:

    We know folks who were at the latest “big bucks” funder and the Attorney General did not say anything that even leans toward not going for gov.
    BTW BankerBill was stunned by the event and Sneedless to say pouted for several days.

    In the meantime. Axe is right. The Madigans would be a problem. But mostly for predatory lenders and their allies, polluters, medical quacks and other flim flam artists. Those groups will not feel welcome at all. Those who enjoyed the $1 billion utility refund or the Blagoof impeachment will probably find them refreshing

  15. - Raising Kane - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    The folks who are trying to drive this message about LM not being able to serve while her father is Speaker risk looking sexist. I still don’t believe she will run for Gov. but I hope she doesn’t let this nonsense influence her.

    Sneedless to say that the Daley team knows her entry into the race would be the end of their campaign.

  16. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    === “He wouldn’t have to. He wouldn’t have to step down,” she retorted to a reporter, emphasizing the move would not be a requirement. ===

    It would not be a requirement under any law.

    But sound politics?

    As Sneed says, “You betcha”.

    Same goes for her father serving as Chairman of the Democratic Party during her primary challenge of a sitting Governor.

    That wouldn’t sit well with many folks.

  17. - Keyrock - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 12:07 pm:

    Raising Kane:
    Sexist? It’s not a question of gender; it’s a question of the parent-child relationship and the positions each holds or seeks.

  18. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    ===the parent-child relationship===

    See, that’s where you tipped your hand.

  19. - Truth teller - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    C’mon folks, does ANYONE really think the voters will “endorese” (ie, vote) for having a Governor and (most powerful ever) Speaker in the same family?

    Simply put, it ain’t gonna happen. As I’ve said before, the old man needs to retire for Lisa to be Gov, and MM is not the retiring type.

  20. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    ““In terms of decision-making, a lot of fundraising is going on, and now I have a treadmill in my office so I can walk as I make those calls. Yes, you will have a decision sooner rather than later,” she said. […]”


    This treadmill is in WHAT office?

  21. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    “it’s going to be hard to make the case that the governor and the Speaker of the House can be father and daughter.” This is a pretty basic point and it wouldn’t matter if it was father/daughter or father/son. The sexist charge will be hard to make stick.

  22. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===The sexist charge will be hard to make stick. ===

    Straight up father-daughter, you’re right. The trouble is, we all know that some people are gonna go way overboard and that’ll be used as a pivot. It’s gonna happen if she gets in. Actually, it already has. It’ll just happen more often. And then the media will go crazy and she’ll use it to her advantage.

    Bank it.

  23. - Esquire - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    Hey, it’s great that the AG can multi-task, but if an important donor rates a personal fund raising call direct from the AG will that person be pleased to learn that he or she is so important that the AG is doing her daily treadmill work out while she’s on the telephone?
    How about folding laundry or dusting the furniture?

    Too much information… it makes it look like she does not want to make the calls…

  24. - Raising Kane - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    Esquire, I thought that treadmill reference was weird too. She bought a treadmill so that she could walk while she dialed for dollars…that must mean she plans on calling a lot. She wouldn’t need to make a single call if she planned to run for AG against Steve Kim II. So she must be running for Gov…right??? Naw..

  25. - Foxfire - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    Cincinnatus raises a good point. Exactly what office is that treadmill in and where is she making those fundraising calls?

  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 1:25 pm:

    Cinci, good point, I’m checking.

  27. - Esquire - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    Eh, it could be worse. LBJ was reputed to make calls from unusual places. Never mind.

  28. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 1:39 pm:


  29. - bored now - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    didn’t sneed say that barack would be in chicago today for the blackhawks celebration (despite the fact that his schedule showed that he’d be in the midst of his africa trip — one announced months ago)???

  30. - bored now - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    rich, i don’t think there is any question that lisa is a shrewd politician (and possibly as shrewd as her father). but this isn’t a subject were the public is relatively undecided. people in key areas of the state (and, especially, on the higher end of the education scale) are already talking about power being concentration in the hands of a single family in illinois. it seemed to be an accepted phenomenon in chicago, but there are tons of voters who *say* they fled chicago because they were uncomfortable with the politics of chicago. republicans and democrats will be forced to think about how comfortable they are with political power being concentrated in the hands of one immediate family if she decides to run for governor (and he chooses to remain in that position)…

  31. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    bored now, I don’t disagree. But politics is politics.

  32. - John Bambenek - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 2:19 pm:

    If LM wins the primary (and my hunch would be in a 3-way primary, PQ stands a good chance to pull it off), it depends on who the Republican is. Elections aren’t “Do you like X? Yes or No”. It’s “You get A or B. Pick one”.

    For me? As an observer, I’d love to see a Lisa Madigan v Dan Proft General Election. I’d take blogging back up just for that campaign.

  33. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    Proft as GOP nominee? Are you smoking something dude?

  34. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    –It’s not a question of gender; it’s a question of the parent-child relationship and the positions each holds or seeks.–

    For crying out loud, she’s 48 years old. She’s not a child; she’s much closer to an AARP card.

    I told my old man to mind his own business when I was 16, and I loved him more than another breath of air.

    He raised me to have the guts to do so, and was proud that I did.

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