SPRINGFIELD (The Center Square) — More Illinois House Democrats have said they won’t support Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for another term.
Every two years, the Illinois House votes for speaker; 60 votes are needed. The office manages how the House operates. Madigan (D-Chicago) has held that spot for all but two years since 1983. He recently has been implicated in several federal indictments against other people but hasn’t himself been charged with a crime. He maintains his innocence.
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) said there’s a sea change within the caucus.
“There were three more Democratic representatives that said they will not vote for Michael Madigan as speaker,” Kifowit said. “Yesterday, we saw four individuals that wrote a letter that said he should step aside. So as it looks today, it does not look like Speaker Madigan has the votes to retain the speakership.”
Kifowit is vying for the speakership.
Four other Democratic women signed on to a letter saying they can’t support Madigan for speaker.
“We sent a letter to Speaker Madigan calling on him to step aside and make room for new leadership of the Illinois House in January,” said a statement from state Reps. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park), Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), Anna Moeller (D-Elgin), and Ann Williams (D-Chicago).
“In the wake of yesterday’s expansive and far-reaching indictment, it has become even more clear that the Speaker will no longer be able to efficiently lead the House Democratic Caucus, and we will not be supporting him for Speaker,” the statement continued.
State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) said from his count, there are 15 House Democrats that “now publicly committed not to vote for Madigan.”
“That only leaves 58 Democrats,” Guzzardi said on Twitter. “It’s time to start talking about who can get to 60.”
Kifowit said she’s talking to all her House colleagues.
“It’s a work in progress,” Kifowit said. “To be quite honest, I don’t think anybody can predict or see what’s going to happen in the future considering that Michael Madigan has been speaker of the House for almost four decades.”
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) said the decision is up to the Democrats.
“The majority party has a responsibility,” Durkin said. “The governor and also the members of his caucus have a responsibility to take action immediately. This is not something that needs to go through this drama of a vote in January. This needs to be done immediately.”
In a statement denying any wrongdoing in the bribery allegations leveled against others, Madigan didn’t address the growing defections.
“Anyone who has ever worked for or around me knows I value, above all else, hard work and dedication, whether it’s knocking on doors, collecting garbage, or representing a client,” Madigan said. “I have always steadfastly worked to build a strong Democratic Party and House Democratic Caucus in an effort to help the hardworking people of Illinois.”
Reporting by Greg Bishop
The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.