Share the article: Dem Steps Up to Challenge Madigan for Speaker

IL House Democrats can choose new path or keep following Madigan’s marching orders

Dem State Rep. Kifowit announces a bid for Speaker of the House, gives Dems a choice

Every election cycle comes with it a time honored right-of-passage for Illinois House Democratic candidates in hotly contested races: the first time a reporter asks them if they will be supporting Michael Madigan for Speaker. Now, you can imagine the difficult place this puts these candidates in. On one hand, Madigan is a corrupt machine politician who has overseen the complete financial destruction of a once great state. On the other hand, he showers them with millions of dollars to get elected.

What is an ambitious politician to do?

Well, with almost no exceptions, House Democratic candidates of past and present have chosen to take Madigan’s money and either keep their mouths shut or chalk their decision on a vote for Speaker up to a lack of choices in which they are forced to vote for Madigan over a Republican.

In the tight contest between incumbent Republican State Representative Grant Wehrli and his opponent Janet Yang Rohr, Rohr refused to even talk about Madigan. 

From the Daily Herald…

“[Yang Rohr] is especially awkward when trying to square her claims to value ethics reform with her unwillingness to take a position on Madigan’s speakership.”

Yang Rohr, unsurprisingly, is up to nearly $340,000 in Madigan money flowing to her campaign account with more than a month to go in the election.

Other Democrat candidates in the past have said they will vote for a Democrat over a Republican regardless of who it is, or like current swing-district State Rep. Katie Stuart, have been confused by such a difficult “hypothetical”.

From the News-Gazette…

“Asked if she intended to vote to re-elect House Speaker Michael Madigan, Stuart pretended to be flummoxed by the question.

‘I don’t know what the options will be,’ Stuart said. ‘You’re asking me a hypothetical question just like I wouldn’t tell you how I would vote on any piece of legislation until I actually read the legislation.’


That’s why they evade questions on the subject with superficial, glib responses like, “I can’t say whom I’m supporting because I don’t know who’s going to be running for speaker.”

That’s the talking point Democratic public-relations advisers tell House members to give if they’re questioned by reporters or voters. It’s shamefully false, but in politician-world, any answer that avoids an unpleasant subject is worth giving.

We aim to help Rep. Stuart (beneficiary of over $1.3 million in Madigan money) and any other confused House Democrats with the choices they have before them. With Kifowit’s announcement this morning, the choices, in no particular order, are:

  1. DEMOCRAT State Representative Stephanie Kifowit
  2. Current Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan
  3. Minority Leader Jim Durkin

That’s it! Now that the choices are clear, every House Democrat candidate should be made to go on the record and answer the very simple question of who they would support for Speaker of the House.

“House Democrat candidates have been playing games with voters for years. They’ve ducked and dodged ‘The Madigan Question’ at every turn because when Madigan money means you get to outspend your opponent 5 to 1, the answer doesn’t matter. The time for games is over. A favorite excuse is gone. They have a choice. House Democrats can be complicit in Madigan’s corrupt ways destroying Illinois and their party, or they can turn the page and vote for the other Democrat running.” – ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider


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