By John Ruberry
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been representing his Southwest Side Chicago district since 1971. He’s been speaker since 1983, except for two years in the 1990s when the Republicans held a majority in Springfield.
The district is safely Democratic, especially since he and state Senate President John Cullerton, also a Chicagoan, gerrymandered Illinois’ remap in 2011 in the spirit of Pablo Picasso.
But that’s not enough for Madigan. He still has to run for reelection every two years, but he usually faces Republican opponents that few people have heard of, who don’t campaign, don’t set up political committees, or raise money. That’s because in all likelihood they are front candidates placed on the ballot by the Madigan organization.
Oh, I almost forgot–Madigan is the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.
Madigan’s most recent phony GOP opponent, Terrence Goggin, is a prior candidate. But Mike’s juggernaut may have overreached this time. The Chicago Republican Party–yes, there is one–challenged Goggin’s petitions. Not only does anyone not recall petitioners roaming the streets of the Southwest Side gathering signatures for Goggin, many of the autographs on those documents have similar handwriting. Just before Christmas, the Chicago Board of Elections granted the Chicago GOP’s motion to subpoena Goggin’s petitioners.
“Terrence Goggin has run four times before, yet we have never met him,” the Chicago Republican Party’s Chris Cleveland told ABC 7 Chicago. “We have never spoken to him there are no known photos of him.”
On Thursday, and hour before the Goggin petitioners were to testify about the validity of the signatures on those petitions, the ephemeral Goggin withdrew from the race.
This affront to democracy seems like something the Illinois attorney general should investigate. But don’t hold your breath–the holder of that office is Lisa Madigan. Yes, she is the daughter of the speaker.
Illinois is very ill.
Meanwhile, the Chicago GOP is seeking real candidates against Michael Madigan.