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Madigan coverage roundup

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021

* Tribune

Scandal-plagued Speaker Michael Madigan on Monday suspended his bid to keep running the Illinois House, even as he left open the possibility he could reemerge if Democrats can’t agree on a replacement.

The move was politically calculated, an aide privately acknowledged, as Madigan plays a waiting game.

The state has several important issues to resolve, and the new House that gets sworn in Wednesday can’t tackle any of them until a speaker is elected. The longer that process drags on, the greater the pressure on anti-Madigan lawmakers to compromise — which could allow the speaker, a politician known for brokering deals, to recapture the gavel.

The move amounts to a dare by Madigan to any of the other 72 House Democrats to try to cobble together a coalition to oust him, a tall task given the breadth of diversity of the caucus. It’ll take 60 votes to elect a House speaker, and Madigan had 51 during a closed-door vote on Sunday, with the next-closest contender, Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago, getting 18 votes.

* Sun-Times

Late Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times learned that the Black Caucus had chosen state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, as its candidate for speaker. A source within the caucus said Welch would have Madigan’s backing.

But Madigan’s spokesman denied that.

Reached for comment, Steve Brown said the veteran speaker isn’t “taking any position on any of the candidates who’ve either been announced or whose names have been mentioned in the media.”

* WUIS

Willis on Monday told NPR Illinois she felt Madigan’s refusal to withdraw from the Speaker’s race is not leadership.

“I think leadership is to make a decision and that’s why I did what I did, putting my support behind Representative Williams,” Willis said. “I think that was for the good of the caucus to be able to do that…And I would love to see a woman in that chair. That’s one of the reasons that I ran.” […]

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), one of Madigan’s most vocal critics, is reportedly mulling a run for speaker herself. Cassidy on Monday didn’t criticize Madigan for merely suspending but not withdrawing from the campaign, casting the development as an “opportunity” for unity.

“This news came as a shock to a lot of the caucus, so I expect the race will change dramatically as a result,” Cassidy said. “This is a time to hear what all of our colleagues have to say about their visions for a new leadership team. I have nothing to announce right now, but will keep everyone apprised if that should change.”

* Mark Brown

Lawmakers were left to supply their own interpretation of the speaker’s words, hardly a first time for any of them.

My interpretation? If House Democrats figure out how hard it is to put together a 60-vote majority and give up, they’re welcome to come crawling back to Madigan.

I don’t expect that to happen. Sure, House Democrats are going to have some difficulty agreeing on somebody else after taking their cues for so long from Madigan, who leaves no obvious heir apparent.

But not so much trouble that the 19 House Democrats whose opposition brought matters to this point will decide it was all a big mistake and abandon their quest for new leadership.

In other words, I really think it is over for Madigan, except that it can’t be over until he explicitly says it’s over — or until somebody else puts together the 60 votes.

Thoughts?

* Blog coverage headlines…

* House Black Caucus backs Rep. Chris Welch for Speaker

* Pritzker on Madigan, CTU, FBI warning about armed protests (updated with comment from Leader Durkin)

* Despite suspension of his campaign, Madigan still has staunch loyalists

* Women’s groups now say that new House Speaker must have supported the ERA, HB40 and the RHA (updated with Personal PAC comments) https://capitolfax.com/2021/01/11/womens-groups-now-say-that-new-house-speaker-must-have-supported-the-era-hb40-and-the-rha/

* Speaker Madigan to suspend campaign… for now (updated)

- Posted by Rich Miller        

30 Comments »
  1. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 5:44 am:

    Madigan either has a Plan B and has chosen the candidate he wants to succeed him or he has totally miscalculated his current power. With all the current national and state events that have unfolded in the past few months and days, the 19 will need to stand firm. Madigan needs to recognize what is best for the Democratic Party and not for the Party of Madigan. Sitting on the sidelines waiting for implosion of candidates and members to come back to him with their tails tucked between their legs is doubtful in my opinion.


  2. - HCMcB4 - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 5:45 am:

    Mark Brown hit it on the head. I’d like to think the Speaker understands that the 19 aren’t going to “come to their senses.” I hope he knows it’s over and that this is a conscious effort to have some control over his successor. Anything else would be delusional.


  3. - Ok - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 7:42 am:

    I said it last night, and I will say it again. A Williams and Welch partnership (in whichever order) is really strong for Illinois.

    The moderates’ grumbling about the two of them is understandable: they are a far undersized minority in the caucus now, and they have had oversized power for the past decade and a half since Illinois turned blue.

    Everyone here knows I have been predicting Speaker Welch for months, but I actually think a madame Speaker might be in the cards, too.

    Either way, the prospects of something happening by Wednesday is fantastic. Too much to get done.


  4. - frustrated GOP - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:03 am:

    What about Gordon Booth? In leadership, not from Chicago, a woman, member of the black caucus, and get legislation through the house.


  5. - blue line - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:14 am:

    *map


  6. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:14 am:

    As we already see here and last night, there is nothing the White power structure won’t do or sink to in order to keep power.


  7. - Drake Mallard - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:18 am:

    When having to pick between Youth and exuberance or age and treachery. Bet on age and treachery every time


  8. - Leslie K - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:21 am:

    I was actually thinking of Gordon Booth this morning as well. Wouldn’t mind seeing Cassidy give it a try. I think they both have the necessary demeanor and could handle complicated negotiations.


  9. - rules - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:40 am:

    This thing is going to last for many ballots / votes. I really don’t see any other way.


  10. - Dome Gnome - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:40 am:

    == Didn’t Gordon Booth get in trouble for shoplifting? ==

    Don’t be that person who thinks all Black legislators look alike.


  11. - Downstate - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:50 am:

    “Suspended” the campaign. As an aside, it’s interesting to note that campaign “suspension” is a term used most often by Presidential campaigns, particularly in the primary process.

    The campaigns are never “ended”, but merely “suspended”. But rarely, if ever, are the campaigns revived. The only exception to this I can recall was John McCain’s temporary suspension of the campaign during the financial crisis of 2008.


  12. - Centennial - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:52 am:

    Big Lou - not cool. That should be deleted.


  13. - 14th ward - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:54 am:

    ====precinct captain==== Is everything Black or White to you. There are many factions in the pie, different ideas.


  14. - SpiDem - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 9:25 am:

    The Black Caucus move to support Welch is a big deal. Seeing hard evidence that the Speaker released these votes (especially after considering Thapedi’s comments yesterday) makes it seem much more real, and less likely to be maneuvering for chaos as I thought yesterday.

    My guess is Madigan is now focused on choosing a successor that he can influence, and retain control of the party.


  15. - Birds on the Bat - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 9:37 am:

    My guess is Madigan is now focused on choosing a successor that he can influence, and retain control of the partY.

    This. It ain’t rocket science.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 9:39 am:

    Why would Madigan want to stick around and not be the Speaker?

    It’s an open question


  17. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 9:44 am:

    The thing that Madigan dies best is count votes. I saw his campaign suspension as a calculated move to (a) draw out opposition, (b) possibly persuade people over time that he is the only viable choice, or (c) set himself up to broker a compromise. It’s a pretty big gamble … only time will tell if it is a smart strategy.


  18. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 9:45 am:

    I swear, Madigan is finally in his swan song, and some commenters are already posting conspiracies.

    For some, Madigan will be pulling strings from the grave.


  19. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 9:46 am:

    =Why would Madigan want to stick around and not be the Speaker?=

    When/If the Feds do come up with charges he is much less of an embarrassment/distraction as a simple member of the GA rather than as Speaker.


  20. - Captain Obvious - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 9:51 am:

    Why would he stay? If he does stay I think it would be because when you reach a certain level of power/influence it would be hard to quit that cold turkey and go away. It ain’t like he will just fish or play golf. This is his entire identity and life’s work. Also his hobby. And his reason for being, etc.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:03 am:

    === it would be hard to quit that cold turkey and go away.===

    When MJM has to move out of the Speaker Suite, and not be the hub of the actual action, that reality will be cold turkey.

    I dunno what the answer is, heck, that response might be the correct one or partly correct, who knows as of this moment.

    The reality is Madigan’s reality would change. How much of that new is MJM going to tolerate.

    A good chunk of the time, you lose the confidence of your caucus to lead it, you walk.


  22. - EssentialWorkingMom - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:06 am:

    I agree with Captain Obvious. In general, his power and leadership style is not loud and brash and in your face, his is more behind the scenes and subtle anyway. If he’s not ready to trot off in to the woods or lake or the local golf course yet (which is how it seems it is), I don’t think that he’ll have any problem taking a less public seat with that has a lesser name in power and rank while he continues to wield the massive power and influence he’s built over his lengthy career.


  23. - JakeCP - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:16 am:

    ===My guess is Madigan is now focused on choosing a successor that he can influence, and retain control of the partY.

    This. It ain’t rocket science.===

    My thoughts exactly. I have to admit, I am a little surprised that Ann Williams jumped in the race.


  24. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:22 am:

    “Why would Madigan want to stick around and not be the Speaker?”

    He wouldn’t unless he had at least 80% control of the new Speaker.


  25. - SpiDem - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:39 am:

    I don’t think Madigan sticks around in the House with a new Speaker. But that has no relationship on his position as Party Chair until at least after the next primary election in 2022. I suspect he continues to wield influence via that role through at least 2022


  26. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 10:56 am:

    - 14th ward - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 8:54 am:

    You’re literally making my point.


  27. - rules - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    He’s not going back to being a regular member. That’s not happening- or very unlikely.


  28. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:25 am:

    I expect there will be a period of MJM pulling strings… and I expect that will be both helpful and not. It won’t last forever, it will be unsatisfying for both him and the new Speaker.


  29. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 11:27 am:

    “Madigan either has a Plan B and has chosen the candidate he wants to succeed him or he has totally miscalculated his current power.”

    Or C: He has a Plan B chosen successor AND miscalculated his current power.

    One of Madigan’s greatest skills has been his ability to disarm or co-opt other potential sources of power within the state party. Right now, Democrats have more potential alternative power sources than at any time in the last 20 years.

    And many of those alternative sources are very new to the scene, so Madigan has had little time to understand their strengths and weaknesses, much less work his magic on them.

    Couple that with the fact that his organization has been somewhat… distracted by federal events and you have a political playing field very different from any that Madigan has ever operated on previously.

    I’m sure Madigan has a plan and I’m sure that it’s a plan that would have worked five or ten years ago — but is it a plan that can be successful in 2021?

    That is very far from certain.

    – MrJM


  30. - KnopeWeCan - Tuesday, Jan 12, 21 @ 12:20 pm:

    At the end of the day, even giving up the power of the speakership doesn’t make Madigan much weaker. He still leads the Democratic Party of Illinois. It’s possible that taking a more backseat approach does not diminish his power. He has amassed enough of a fundraising organization and power structure to take a backbench approach which may draw less attention. It also gives him the opportunity to support someone for Speaker who he trusts and to continue to maintain a power base. Sometimes the most powerful place to be is with a lesser title with funding, a network that maintains a power base, and to have a figurehead to take the blows.


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