Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan loses long-held leadership post

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan loses long-held leadership post

Rep. Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, center, is sworn in as state House speaker by Alan J. Greiman, a state appellate court judge, as his family stands by Madigan’s side at Sangamon Auditorium, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007, in Springfield, Ill. daughter, Ill. From left are daughter and state Attorney General Lisa Madigan; son Andrew Madigan; daughter Nicole Madigan; and wife, Shirley Madigan. | Justin L. Fowler, AP

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan lost the seat he has held for nearly four decades after falling short of receiving the 60 votes needed to secure another term.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is out of the leadership post he’s held for nearly four decades. On Jan. 13, 2021, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch was elected the new speaker of the Illinois House.

After members of Madigan’s inner circle were indicted for an alleged bribery scheme designed to influence him, four more state House Democrats say they won’t be voting for Madigan to maintain his powerful position in January, effectively blocking him from another term in that seat if they hold to their statements.

On January 11, Madigan announced he was suspending his campaign for the position he’s held for nearly four decades after falling short of receiving the 60 votes needed to secure another term, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

In a statement, Madigan said “this is not a withdrawal. I have suspended my campaign for Speaker.

“As I have said many times in the past, I have always put the best interest of the House Democratic Caucus and our members first,” the statement continued. “The House Democratic Caucus can work to find someone, other than me, to get 60 votes for Speaker.”

Fifty-one House Democrats voted for Madigan to remain in the powerful position he’s held for almost four decades in their first round of voting in a closed caucus meeting on January 10.

Known as “The Velvet Hammer” for his quiet but iron-fisted control of the speaker’s gavel, the powerful Southwest Side Democrat has held the reins in the state House for much of the past 37 years, serving as speaker for all but two years since 1983. He was first elected to the House in 1971.

Madigan’s tenure eclipsed the 33-year record set by South Carolina’s Solomon Blatt, who served from 1937-1946 and 1951-1973, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

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