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*** UPDATED x2 *** Expect a Black Caucus endorsement of MJM

Friday, Dec 4, 2020

* Pearson at the Trib

Embattled House Speaker Michael Madigan, his bid for reelection to the post in jeopardy, will appear Saturday at a “candidate’s forum” hosted by one of his most loyal constituencies — the House Black caucus.

With 19 of the projected 73 Democrats who will sit in the next session of the House opposing Madigan’s reelection — leaving him six short of approval — the move by the nation’s longest-serving speaker is aimed at both shoring up and demonstrating support from a highly active caucus of House Democrats.

So far, of the Black caucus’ 22 members, only Rep. Maurice West of Rockford has said he will not vote for Madigan’s reelection as speaker, a post the Southwest Side Democrat has held since 1983 with the exception of two years in the mid-1990s when Republicans controlled the chamber. […]

The Black caucus traditionally meets prior to the inauguration of a new legislature to elect a member for the House Democratic leadership team. But one caucus member said privately that the meeting’s role this year was expanded to include the speaker candidate’s forum as a way to provide Madigan with a formidable reelection endorsement.

Subscribers know more about that last sentence.

* Rachel Hinton at the Sun-Times

Members of the House have until noon Friday to make their interest known to Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, who chairs the caucus, according to the release. The forum was first reported by Capitol Fax.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for the speaker, said Madigan plans to take part.

Lilly said it will be a private forum for the candidates.

“We wanted to open it up to those who are interested [in being speaker] and we wanted to make ourselves available,” Lilly said.

*** UPDATE 1 *** I meant to include this here and forgot. Pearson was interviewed by CNN about Madigan. Here’s one exchange

Cillizza: Finish this sentence: “In January the next Speaker of the Illinois state House will be ________.” Now, explain.

Pearson: I don’t mean to weasel out here but this is very much an open question. In the past, there were heirs apparent to Madigan should he have stepped down. But Madigan has outlasted them. The women’s caucus is sizable and has now become a political force. The Black caucus in the House has always been influential. Progressives have become a larger factor in the chamber and they will want to be represented. Members of Madigan’s current leadership team want consideration.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…

“The Illinois Legislative House Black Caucus will host a forum for all interested candidates for House Speaker on Saturday, December 5th. At noon today, we received the final list of interested candidates who wish to appear and present their leadership credentials to the caucus members. We are committed to a transparent and open process. We look forward to hearing from all those interested and providing an opportunity for the caucus members to make the best decision that represents our collective constituency and residents of Illinois. This is strictly a forum.” - Rep. Camille Lilly, Chair - Illinois Legislative House Black Caucus

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Roman - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:21 am:

    This endorsement session will have all the suspense of a Bruce Rauner visit to the Tribune Tower.

  2. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:23 am:

    Sounds like another example of putting a collective agenda ahead of the greater good of the Party and the State as a whole. It’s difficult to respect a Caucus or any group that operates in this manner.

  3. - Samori - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:24 am:

    Why is the black caucus so loyal to him? Has his reign been of great benefit to the black community?

  4. - Wow - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:32 am:

    @Cubs in 16: is that white privilege talk?

  5. - NIU Grad - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:36 am:

    Samori - It has been great for their members specifically. The irony is that without Madigan, the leadership vacuum would give them much more relevance. That includes one of their members potentially serving as speaker.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:37 am:

    The 19 need to coalesce and under ONE letterhead decide to speak with ONE voice.

    This endorsement by the Black Caucus will be significant, not to the initial count to “60”, but to the point of another candidate that will, by this move, be a candidate without the Black Caucus.

    And let’s be clear;

    Harmon’s elevation was one of a vacant President chair.

    This is Madigan, embattled, and trying to stave off being taken down.

    The algebra does not make any of this equal to Lightford or the intervention of Gov. Pritzker, the executive inserting himself in the legislative leadership fight.

    Two different political animals here, let alone the differences seen in both chambers as well

  7. - lake county democrat - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:40 am:

    Strikes me as positioning to have more say over who will be the speaker - else, I’m confused why do this - it’s almost unimaginable the anti-Madigan Dems would somehow vote for him, and what else do you gain by endorsing someone so obviously corrupt and now a drag at the ballot box? (Honestly asking - there may well be reasons, just none coming to mind).

  8. - NIU Grad - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:45 am:

    lake county democrat - I think this is more of a way to mark a contrast between the Democratic factions by showing the Black Caucus united against a predominately white opposition. It also lets Madigan frame it as “him against the Republicans” as there isn’t a strong candidate against him currently.

    Does it weaken his caucus? Yes. But his primary goal is personal power.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:45 am:

    73 - 21 = 52

    The Black Caucus, mathematically, is forcing the discussion for the super-majority to elect *any* next Speaker.

    The 72, less Madigan in this lil instance, will not cede power to the super-minority in assisting, and any Raunerite who votes for any Dem will face a significant backlash, due in large part that the HRaunerites are not inclined to be ones to assist Dems in leadership without policy/agenda concessions.

    “We’ll see”

  10. - Powdered Whig - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:46 am:

    === I’m confused why do this ===

    Maybe see the comment by Cubs in 16 for guidance. The Black Caucus has had a great partnership with Speaker Madigan over the years. Why would they abandon him for an unknown, or worse, completely tone deaf to their concerns.

  11. - Realtalk9912 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:53 am:

    The Black Caucus is showing true leadership in calling for would be Speakers to state their case. NOONE will reach 60 votes without the Black Caucus. The Caucus is not loyal to anyone person and will endorse the best qualified person. If you don’t have the courage to come forward maybe you are not Speaker material.

  12. - NIU Grad - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    I really liked this quote: “In the past, there were heirs apparent to Madigan should he have stepped down. But Madigan has outlasted them.”

    Madigan’s legacy, no matter what happens with this election, is clinging to power at the cost of caring about what happens after he leaves. He outlasted any likely successor and forced most ambitious state representatives to find another pathway to success. The man even ended his daughter’s political career, ending any possibility of a “family dynasty” that will last after him.

    I have to keep asking…to what end?

  13. - Voted Present - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    “The Caucus is not loyal to any one person.”

    “The Caucus intends to support Madigan amid a great many calls for him to step down.”

    Which is it? Pick one.

  14. - Chambanalyst - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    Do not understand pledging allegiance to the old speaker on his way out. If they truly want to step up and lead now is the time to use their platform to enact change - starting with Speaker Madigan. It is hard to believe they want anything different from the status quo if they are quite literally choosing to endorse it. Maybe I am not seeing the forest through the trees.

  15. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    ===I have to keep asking…to what end? ===

    We’ll get an answer from Chancellor Palpatine before we get one from Speaker Madigan.

  16. - Realtalk9912 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    @VotedPresent - the Caucus will make an endorsement based on those with the courage to step up and declare their intent. Caucus has been very clear that they will support someone other than Madigan if given a viable choice

  17. - Fav human - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    It’s obvious why. If madigan survives, he’ll owe the Black caucus big time. I expect a deal has been made. Mjm is well known for keeping his deals.

    If he loses, The winner still needs the black caucus. He’ll have to cough up something to them.

    Kind of a win-win situation for the BC.

  18. - Howard - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    The Business community should do an endorsement. They have the most to lose should MJM fail. There is only one man standing between JB and the House Progressives assault.

  19. - K3 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    Congrats to the BC for being on the wrong side of history in exchange for a deal to push legislation that was going to get done anyway. Very strategic.

  20. - Another deal in the making - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:31 am:

    Exelon and ComEd still looking working deals with the Speaker.

  21. - walker - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    Trying to establish starting positions. It’s the second and third steps to be pondering.

  22. - David Chicago - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    May I ask a question?

  23. - Original Rambler - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    CD - Have we ever seen them in a room together? Just sayin’…

  24. - David Chicago - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:36 am:

    Why isn’t State Representative Mary Flowers media mentioned as House Speaker? Could an expert here explain this? Thanks.

  25. - Blah blah - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    === Madigan’s legacy, no matter what happens with this election, is clinging to power at the cost of caring about what happens after he leaves. ==

    I think it’s the opposite. Why would he leave until he knows who will take over.

  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    ===Why would he leave until he knows who will take over===

    Why would it be any of his business?

  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    === Why would he leave until he knows who will take over.===

    Madigan securing his legacy ended when Mike chose the gavel over Lisa.

    The rest could be a “helpless” Madigan trying to be a kingmaker and no one is listening after dragging this out(?)

    It’s “19” vs. “21” right now. The “33” not yet publicly committed still can’t give either side “60”

  28. - JS Mill - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:50 am:

    ====Why would he leave until he knows who will take over====

    He will not leave willingly. He has too much to lose visa vi control of the skeletons in his closet. Unless a deal was worked out that allowed him some guarantees, but that doesn’t seem likely or legal.

    MJM will fight until the bitter end.

    The HBC maybe positioning here. Trying to pull together the best deal and most influence. or they may genuinely be loyal to MJM. We will see.

    What is obvious is that without the HBC, or 19, or any other caucus that numbers 13 or more, no one will be able to put 60 votes together.

  29. - Bobby from The 14th Ward - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:56 am:

    Oswego Willy’s advice is good for the Democratic party. Check out his numbers. He cares.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:03 am:

    ===… advice is good for…===


    Are you ever going to add to a discussion or be a troll of ignorant takes?

    To the post,

    As the Black Caucus moves towards an endorsement, will other HDems then feel a need to publicly pick a side or wait this all out, like a Papal election where only at the end we find out who the next Pope is, then we get the post-mortem?

  31. - Notorious Tameka - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    Mr. Willy you need to learn to take a compliment. Many of us have been working on the Madigan plantation for a long time.

  32. - walker - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:12 am:

    K3 “”..that was going to get done anyway”"

    Pardon me for being skeptical. Much in the current BC agenda has been demanded and ignored for years. This is the year to make sure.

  33. - TNR - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    Will any of the other caucuses within the Dem caucus do endorsements sessions? There’s the Women’s, Latino, Progressive, Downstate and the new Moderate caucuses. Am I missing any?

  34. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    - Notorious Tameka -

    If you can’t tell it’s a trolling… or you’re in on it.

    To the post,

    If it’s obvious to the moment that the endorsement is happening for MJM, does the algebra than figure… does a candidate want to be open (like Kifowit) to try to appeal to the Black Csucus later, or will it be seen as bad form not to participate and later come back to them with a deal?

    Will this specifically be like a Papal election to the politics in the room and the caucus? Seems so.

  35. - Lincoln Lad - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    MJM made a smart deal - as he always does. This endorsement will carry him to another term as Speaker. The BC has likely been promised support, money, and more. Unfortunately - the ComEd activities should have been disqualifying IMO. It would have been nice to see the caucus broker something for the future instead of continuing to support what needs to be the past. The caucus power could have grown with a new generation… this is a short term accommodation that won’t mean much in the long run.

  36. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    I doubt that Madigan has any interest at all in being a “king-maker” unless he is making himself king. He wants to be king or he wants to be king; those are the choices.

  37. - Ok - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    With all the jockeying, all it will take is one member of the black caucus to start making significant (even if not formal) moves to start lining up support. Then this all falls down and lots of folks start making moves.

    And, from what I am hearing, there are at least 2, but it hasn’t quite gotten to the “significant” stage yet.

  38. - SpiDem - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    Just a few questions to ponder:

    Is the coming Black Caucus commitment for all ballots, or just the first ballot?

    Does Will Davis, who has already expressed interest, take to opportunity to make his case at tomorrow’s forum as an eventual successor if needed? If not, why not?

    Does Madigan’s relentless effort to maintain his brittle grip on the gavel lead others to join the 19 to try to avoid a floor disaster in January?

    Is Madigan really prepared to accept the public humiliation of only getting 54 votes or less from a 72 person caucus in a floor vote on Jan 13? Does he think that event makes him look strong, or weak?

  39. - Rutro - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 12:21 pm:

    I could see MJM selling the BC on his speaker as he has been loyal and they may need loyalty with a remap coming up (I think). I also think this all falls apart once his opponent/s start horse trading leadership chairs and the BC says wait, wait, wait.

  40. - SumGai1986 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 12:25 pm:

    ===The BC has likely been promised…money===

    WHAT money? What is there to promise? The state is literally borrowing money from the Fed because nobody else will loan us a dime.

    Madigan reminds me president of Liberia in the Nicholas Cage movie “Lord of War”. He fancies himself a deity while his people scrounge for food and die in the muddy streets. Promises are worth nothing in Illinois these days.

  41. - tommy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    “I’m hopeful we can get that addressed in the next two weeks and then be in the Legislature in December, but I can’t be any more specific than that,” he added.

  42. - Ukrainian Villager - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    ==I could see MJM selling the BC on his speaker as he has been loyal and they may need loyalty with a remap coming up (I think).==

    This is an interesting point. The BC could lose a seat or two in a remap due to demographic changes, depending on how things go down.

  43. - Toothpicks and Ice Cream - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:08 pm:

    So, did any other candidates declare interest before the noon deadline today?

  44. - rutro - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:14 pm:

    @ Ukranian village, the Chicago remap should bring even more changes than that to the wards.

  45. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:24 pm:

    - SpiDem - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    Is it really humiliating to lose the public vote? It seems that he’d still be considered Speaker for staff purposes, which itself is a lot of power. At the same time, if you look at it as a set of choices, what’s more embarrassing? Stepping down under siege or making those laying siege fully defeat you?

  46. - dbk - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:40 pm:

    A few observations:

    - Clearly this is a very fluid situation.
    - Several caucuses whose interests may overlap but do not always coincide are now active (behind the scenes)
    - On the basis of comments above, the most viable candidate, assuming one emerges, would appear to be someone who represents/appeals to more than one caucus - e.g., a Black woman, a moderate downstate member who has some common interests with progressives and women members, etc.
    - This situation requires first-hand acquaintance with the likely players. Who’s a potential leader in the various caucuses? Who’s a decent compromise candidate? Who might either be able to obtain Madigan’s blessing in the succession, or alternatively, who has the courage to stand up and persuade a couple of caucuses to follow him/her? Who would JB and Lightfoot favor? (I know, this shouldn’t matter, but it actually does; given the state of the state right now, close cooperation with both the Executive and the Mayor will be crucial to the state’s emerging from the COVID financial crisis with minimal damage - minimal being understood in the relative sense, because the damage is going to be very great and long-lasting).

    It seems hard to believe there’s no obvious successor or smallish group of epigones, no leader(s)-in-waiting, but I don’t know the individuals involved so can’t comment on this.

    I had proposed in 2018 following JB’s election that the best course of action would have been for Madigan to retire in early 2019 and give the new governor a clean slate with a new Speaker.

    But power is a powerful drug - I fear we might be witnessing a somewhat Lear-like, painful, and ultimately pitiable demise.

  47. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===Who would JB and Lightfoot favor?===

    This would not end too well for the Governor or the Mayor if first they can’t agree on one, second if they split on one, and third if any of their candidates eventually lose out.

    Yada, yada, yada… President Lightford…

    Let the 72 hash it out with MJM still in a mix without a majority.

    Outside actors only bring hard feeling and bruised politics.

    The rest is a pretty good framing of what’s at play.

  48. - 618er - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:48 pm:

    Today the house Republicans hold the single largest block of votes for Speaker, that will count for nothing because they put themselves in a corner..

  49. - SpiDem - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:48 pm:

    @Precinct Captain

    Oh, I dunno. You’ve been recognized as the “most powerful democrat in Illinois” literally for decades. You’ve been elected on the first ballot as Speaker 17 times. And now, with a Democratic Majority one seat short of its peak, you go into a floor vote and fail, having lost at least 25% of your caucus?

    Not only would it be the biggest, highest profile loss of a floor in his long history; but it would be an incredibly high profile demonstration of his newfound weakness. Not exactly a winning strategy, IMO

  50. - natty lite - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:51 pm:

    Rep. Flowers should run for Speaker with a Latino Caucus member as Majority Leader, a progressive caucus member as a Deputy and Rep. Ammons as another Deputy. She would make history (you could count on one hand the number of black female Speakers there have ever been nationally), she (probably) won’t be in the job for 40 years, and she could help ensure our state rises to the occasion for the Black community, the healthcare crisis, and the fiscal crisis.

  51. - dbk - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    OW @1:45

    I know, I agree generally, but quoting Rich from yesterday:

    –The governor is not going to play that game yet.–

    With emphasis on “yet.”

    I’m assuming that JB and LL are following developments closely and that they’re in fairly frequent contact. At some point, the state’s two most powerful political leaders will, I believe, get on the same page re: future House leadership.

    This may not be done in the open - in fact, I’m assuming it won’t be - and it may not be done until only 2-3 possible successors emerge, but I think we should take as a given that both Pritzker and Lightfoot want (need) a Speaker they can work with over the next couple of years.


  52. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    === I think we should take as a given that both Pritzker and Lightfoot want (need) a Speaker they can work with over the next couple of years.


    Once bitten, twice shy.

    If either decide to back a person, and in reality it’s someone who will be replacing Madigan, they best not have it as “Pritzker’s Speaker” or “Lightfoot’s choice”. That moniker after following MJM, a tough gig already to that, won’t help anyone.

    Someone gets 60, and then gets the nod from both, but first the anointing of 60, that’s best case.

    Also, even in Richard M times, next Rahm, as now Lightfoot, a mayor now isn’t driving any bus (caucus).

    If Pritzker wants to be the bank of a new Speaker, that’s his choice too.

    I guess… Pritzker and Lightfoot… don’t make no waves, don’t back no losers… but be on the winning side right at the end.

    Be well.

  53. - dbk - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:23 pm:

    OW @2:16

    Fair enough.

    Another thought: Are the caucuses themselves taking into consideration which candidate(s) might work most harmoniously with Pritzker and Lightfoot, do you think? Does this play into their calculations at all?

    -a mayor now isn’t driving any bus (caucus)-

    True enough. But that mayor’s city drives the economic engine of Illinois, for better or worse - and that’s going to matter a lot over the next few years.


  54. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:30 pm:

    === which candidate(s) might work most harmoniously with Pritzker and Lightfoot, do you think? Does this play into their calculations at all?===

    Right now? I can’t see that driving the frontal thinking, as the driving force now is first denying MJM and second finding someone who can get closest to 60, with the Black Caucus waiting it out with MJM and the 19 focused on denial first.

    So much of this right now is getting MJM in a box of “no”, if that makes sense?

    To your mayoral point;

    Was also true back to Richard M, we’ll see if after this all shakes out Dems can build around consensus, even for Chicago things.

    Thanks, be well.

  55. - dbk - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:48 pm:

    OW - okay, this makes sense to me. The House Dems have a lot of internal sorting-out to do, and need to do it internally.

    In that sense, JB and LL’s refraining from support of any one potential Speaker until near the end of the shake-out seems wise, and I hope this is the course they’ll choose (jointly).

    I would sure like to be that proverbial fly on the wall at this moment - which is a significant one for Illinois politics.

  56. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    === I would sure like to be that proverbial fly on the wall at this moment - which is a significant one for Illinois politics.===

    Me too… me too.


  57. - Veil of Ignorance - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:19 pm:

    Terrible idea…hope caucus reconsiders.

  58. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    I wasn’t able to tune into the Governor’s presser today, but during Q&A did he get yet the umpteenth or so off-topic question about Madigan yet again today? Something along the lines of “when is Madigan going to resign?”

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