With less than three days to shore up the votes needed to claim another term as House speaker, Michael Madigan on Sunday was confronted with the reality that he lacks support from nearly a third of his 73-member Democratic caucus.
In the first closed-door ballot cast by divided House Democrats, Madigan received 51 votes, sources said, short of the 60 he needs to lengthen a tenure as speaker that stretches back to 1983, save two years of Republican control in the mid-1990s.
Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago has rallied the most support of Madigan’s challengers, garnering 18 votes in the first ballot on Sunday, according to sources. Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego received three votes and one member voted present. […]
Earlier Sunday, the 19 House Democrats who have publicly opposed Madigan hardened their opposition Sunday and pledged to stay united, issuing a statement declaring they will not support Madigan “at any stage of the voting process.”
Due to the public nature of the campaign to unseat Madigan, few expected the first round of balloting to yield a clear winner. Instead, the highly anticipated voice vote put every member on the record, and tested the strength and potential limits of the Speaker’s political support.
Madigan’s coalition of supporters includes the Legislative Black Caucus, the Latinx Caucus, downstate and moderate Democrats, and organized labor unions, many of whom say they’re prepared to dig in and defend his claim to the gavel against more inexperienced challengers.
And what happens if Madigan can’t get to 60 votes?
“Oh, he’ll get to 60 votes,” a confident Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan) replied on her way out.
After the vote, Madigan’s spokesman said the incumbent speaker is continuing to work to be reelected. […]
Two incoming House Democrats also voted against Madigan: Rep.-elect Denyse Wang Stoneback, D-Skokie, and Rep.-elect Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake. State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, voted present
While Madigan hasn’t been charged, federal prosecutors have identified him repeatedly in court filings as “Public Official A” in the government’s probe of ComEd’s Springfield lobbying practices between 2011 and 2019. The company admitted to showering Madigan precinct captains and other associates with no-work jobs and contracts to curry favor with the speaker to help advance its legislative agenda.
Madigan has denied knowing about ComEd’s efforts to bribe him.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), who has been one of Madigan’s most vocal critics for the past three years, voted present.
“I voted present because I just don’t think we’re there yet,” Cassidy told reporters after caucus adjourned Sunday night. “I don’t think we’re at a viable place yet.”
“What we learned tonight is that Speaker Madigan doesn’t have enough votes [said Rep. Kelly Cassidy] … I’m pretty certain that there are folks who are going to suggest that that means that a good Democrat would make that switch; I would argue that a good Democrat would argue that you’re not capable of uniting your caucus and step out of the way to let someone who can, do so.”
There’s more in all those stories, so click the links.
* Blog coverage…
* House Speaker election updates - Madigan is 9 votes short of 60, opposition grows from 19 to 22
* Rep. Williams: Vote makes it clear that “House Democratic Caucus is ready for a change in leadership” (updated)
* Fireworks before vote on House Speaker (newly updated with comments from Rep. Mary Flowers and Rep. André Thapedi)
* Women’s groups urge vote for woman as new House Speaker - All 19 MJM opponents say they are still together (updated x5)