The intriguing fight to succeed Chairman Madigan

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Pritzker and Harris are political allies, and she was early to endorse him for governor a few years ago. But insiders say there’s no question his decision ruffled feathers in the Kelly camp. Pritzker’s pre-emptive, boss-like leap is reminiscent of his work for another candidate for Illinois Senate president last year against eventual winner Don Harmon, as well as his backing of a former aide, Margaret Croke, for a vacant state rep seat against Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s choice last year Yoni Pizer. Pritzker won that latter battle, but then lost his vaunted graduated income tax amendment, with foes saying he was just asking too much of state voters.

Team Pritzker suggests that his action should have come as no surprise to anyone, given that he’s opened his wallet to help the party and its candidates, and given that it was widely expected Madigan would quit the chairmanship after earlier resigning as House speaker and state rep. After all, both Pritzker and Durbin had called for Madigan to resign, with Durbin associate Bill Houlihan even expressing an interest in the job.

That’s certainly inside baseball, if juicy inside baseball. Still, it won’t be terribly helpful to Pritzker to jostle even a little with the U.S. Senate’s number two Democrat at the time when the state needs every financial favor it can get. And Duckworth, up for re-election next year, certainly could use a unified party at her back.

Meanwhile, we’ll see if Democrats quietly work this out or engage in lots of screaming before their central committee meets to select a new chairman sometime in the next 30 days. Somehow, I have to think Madigan is having a good horse laugh.

via Crain’s Chicago Business

February 23, 2021 at 05:07PM

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