Top Illinois Democrats are calling for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to relinquish leadership of the Illinois Democratic Party after a poor showing in Tuesday’s elections.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth called the ongoing investigation surrounding Madigan an unnecessary distraction saying it makes it harder to carry out the work of helping the people of Illinois in an exclusive interview with the State Journal Register. She told the SJ-R that the Illinois House should consider new leadership to continue progress at the state level.
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi called for Madigan to step down saying the state needed reform-oriented leadership for the Party.
Senator Dick Durbin was the first to call out Madigan after the election on Wednesday morning in an interview with WTTW. He says that the state party’s link to Madigan cost several candidates their election even if they don’t have close ties to the speaker, because of the state party’s link to Madigan.
Governor J.B. Pritzker during his daily press briefing echoed similar sentiments: “Look, I agree with Senator Durbin that opponents were able to tap into voters’ concerns about corruption and their lack of trust in government. There are real challenges there, and you know that I have proposed significant ethics reforms that I know that the legislature needs to take up. The Republicans and the billionaires that sided with them were effectively able to use the speaker as their foil. And that hurt our ability, our state’s ability to get things done. And the truth is that Democrats are standing up for the middle class and getting important things done to support them. But it is clear that Senator Durbin is expressing something that I think is accurate.”
Madigan seemed unmoved by the statements made by these officials yesterday, releasing a statement last night saying that he has helped lead a “blue wall” of Democratic voting in the Midwest, and said he looked forward to continuing his work as the chairman of the Democratic Party and leader of the Illinois House. Anecdotal reports said that Madigan was also making calls around the state last night to rally support after the calls for him to leave both positions.