CHICAGO (AP) – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan ended months of speculation over her political future Monday by announcing she won’t challenge Gov. Pat Quinn in next year’s Democratic primary, a decision that she says was influenced by her father’s position as the speaker of the Illinois House.
Madigan, 46, has raised big money but for months was coy about her plans. She even brushed off reporters inquiring about her future at an unrelated event earlier Monday. Hours later, she announced in an emailed statement that she will seek re-election, saying he loves her current job.
But she said another factor in her decision was her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, arguable the most powerful Democrat in the state.
“I feel strongly that the state would not be well served by having a Governor and Speaker of the House from the same family and have never planned to run for Governor if that would be the case,” she said in the statement. “With Speaker Madigan planning to continue in office, I will not run for Governor.”
Lisa Madigan has become one of the state’s more popular officeholders in her three terms as attorney general, and easily won her last two elections. In the past year she raised her profile on a national stage, working with federal officials on consumer advocacy issues including mortgage practices.
Her ballooning campaign fund had stirred talk about her intentions she raised $830,000 in the first three months of 2013 and has $4.3 million on hand, almost three times more than what Quinn reported April 1.
At the same time, questions were also raised about whether her father, who has served as speaker for 28 of his 42 years in the Illinois House and is considered one of the state’s most powerful politicians, would step down if his daughter ran for governor.
Some political experts said Michael Madigan would have to step aside if she ran, even if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety, while others said it shouldn’t be a problem since Lisa Madigan already holds a statewide office while her father is speaker. Lisa Madigan became the state’s first woman attorney general when she won her first election in 2002, after serving four years in the Illinois Senate.
She had said that she wanted to run for governor because the state needs better leadership.
“I considered running for governor because of the need for effective management from that office and the frustration so many of us feel about the current lack of progress on critical issues facing Illinois,” she said.
Madigan’s exit from the race leaves former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, who’s formed an exploratory committee. On the Republican side, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, venture capitalist Bruce Rauner and state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard have announced they’re running.
Quinn hasn’t spoken widely about his plans for 2014, saying only that he’s focused on doing his job as governor and is ready for any challenger.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.