What’s Actually Happening?

The big news hereabout is that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is “suspending” his campaign for remaining the Illinois’s House’s speaker. ABC 7 Chicago reports:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) — Longtime Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan released a statement Monday saying he is suspending his campaign to maintain the position he has held for decades.

Madigan would need 60 votes to maintain his speakership. He released a statement saying that, “This is not a withdrawal. I have suspended my campaign for Speaker. As I have said many times in the past, I have always put the best interest of the House Democratic Caucus and our members first. The House Democratic Caucus can work to find someone, other than me, to get 60 votes for Speaker.”

Nobody really knows what this means. He could well be re-elected speaker without campaigning for it if support does not coalesce around someone else. Maybe that’s his objective. Maybe he’s just reacting in a fit of pique over the lèse-majesté over not being elected on the first ballot. He’s still chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party so he will still wield considerable power even if he’s not speaker.

It could be the result of the cloud hanging over him due to the criminal investigations surrounding him or it could be a sign of the changing Democratic Party or both.

Relatively few Illinois voters remember a time when Mike Madigan wasn’t speaker.

2 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    What I couldn’t figure out is if the black caucus abandoned Madigan in the first round, or has launched their own candidate only after he failed the first round. If its the latter, it seems like he’s toast.

    The black caucus has served an unfortunate role in the travails of corrupt white politicians in Illinois. I’m not suggesting a corrupt role, at least no more than permissible in politics, but either steadfastness to an unworthy ally or deeply cynical approach to leveraging such situations for political advantage.

    In any case, seems like a big difference btw/ a thin anybody-but-Madigan majority and a supermajority.

  • PD Shaw Link

    IOW/ Speaker needs 60 votes. Madigan got 51 votes. All but one of the 22 members of the House black caucus indicated they were voting for Madigan, so if they moved to their second option after the vote, Madigan now has 30 supporters at most.

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