NPR Story
4:55 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Legislator Protests Madigan As Party Chair, Won't Say Why

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 1:36 pm

The man who has led the Democratic Party of Illinois for the past sixteen years will hold onto that title, but he did face a rare display of opposition.

Party leaders met in Springfield today to re-elect House Speaker Michael Madigan as their chair.

There are those who view Speaker Madigan as an icon of all that's wrong with Illinois politics.

And then there are those who seem to see him as a Democratic demigod.

"He's larger than life to me, in terms of who he is and how he leads the state," said Chicago Alderwoman Michelle Harris. "And because of that we have a strong, Democratic state. We're the strongest in the nation because of his leadership."

Harris was the fourth member of the Democratic State Central Committee to "second" his nomination as the party's chairman.

Which made his election a no-brainer, despite one defection.

Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields): "The question is shall Michael J. Madigan be Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois? All those in favor state by saying 'aye."

Democratic State Central Committee members: "Aye."

Riley: "All those opposed, nay."

Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin): (delay, soft)

Riley: "The opinion of the chair ... I'm sorry?"

Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin) stood to cast the sole "no" vote. He wouldn't say why, just that he has long had concerns, political in nature.

"It is nothing personal," he said. "Absolutely nothing personal."

Madigan offered little comment in reaction, saying he'll continue the policies that have made Democrats dominant in state politics.

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