Wednesday, March 21, 2018

EXTRA: Dumping Madigan may be a matter of thinking small (y en Español)

There are those people out there who are convinced that Michael Madigan is the root of all evil in our politics, and many of them waste far too much time trying to concoct schemes by which they depose the long-time Illinois House speaker and chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

MADIGAN: Does neighboring race worry him
Could it be that the real key to ending Madigan’s political reign (which goes back to the early 1970s and his days as part of the state Constitutional Convention) is to think small? And also to find someone who’s the 13rd Ward equivalent to Aaron Ortiz?

AARON IS THE political newcomer who Tuesday night defeated state Rep. Dan Burke, D-Chicago, for his post in the state Legislature.

Burke is the brother of Ald. Ed Burke, D-14th, and it was generally seen as evidence of Ed’s overall political influence that Dan served in the Illinois House of Representatives for the past 28 years with virtually no opposition.

Until now. The fact that much of the old white ethnic Southwest Side neighborhood structure is now Latino in composition meant that the local voters finally decided they wanted “one of our own” to be in government.

Hence, we now have a 26-year-old high school counselor who will be serving in his first political post once he wins the Nov. 6 general election – in which he’ll be running unopposed.
ORTIZ: Is someone like Aaron the key?

MANY POLITICAL OBSERVERS have used this election as evidence of Ed Burke’s declining influence on the local political scene.

But as it was pointed out to me by a mangy-old reporter-type (a group of us gathered for lunch Wednesday to hash out the electoral happenings of the night before), Madigan may be the one who ought to be more scared.

Burke is the powerbroker of the city’s 14th Ward, while Madigan is the bigwig from the neighboring 13th Ward. They’re both Southwest Side pols who represent areas that have turned Latino – in fact, heavily Mexican, in composition.

There was that election cycle of Jason Gonzales in 2016 where he challenged Madigan for the 22nd Illinois House district seat; and the Madigan-types played the power politics to let it be known of the criminal offenses Gonzales had as a teenager – offenses for which he had formally been pardoned by now-former Gov. Pat Quinn.
GONZALES: Couldn't win in '16

ONE CAN ARGUE that was ugly and mean and downright dirty, but it can also be argued that a better candidate might have been able to run a viable campaign against the speaker – thereby eliminating him as a representative and requiring that someone else be picked as speaker.

And also, likely, as state Democratic chairman.

Madigan himself was unopposed in Tuesday’s primary. But could the search be starting up for someone to take Madigan on come the 2020 election cycle?

Consider that Aaron Ortiz was put up to running for office by Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who on Tuesday won his own primary to represent the Latino neighborhoods of Chicago and the suburbs in Congress.

GARCIA ACTUALLY BACKED about a half-dozen people for various political posts, and all of them actually won!
GARCIA: Moving on up in so many ways

Causing that aforementioned mangy-old reporter-type to speculate that Garcia is “the new Madigan” and a political power-broker in his own right.

That likely is an overstatement. But could Garcia be the key to finding a replacement for Madigan some day?

Or will “Mr. Speaker” himself figure out ways to gain a sixth decade in Illinois politics by appeasing Chuy so that he doesn’t dig up a not-yet-known Latino to challenge Madigan.


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