Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Friday he will seek another term in charge of the chamber despite a growing loss of support from Democratic legislators who see him as detrimental to the party and their own political livelihoods because of his ties to a ComEd bribery case.
"The decision on the next speaker of the Illinois House will be made at a caucus, after a full discussion of the issues facing our state and the qualifications of the candidates," Madigan said in a statement Friday. "I plan to be a candidate for speaker, and (on Friday) I confirmed that I continue to have support from a significant number of House Democratic caucus members."
Madigan made the statement only two days after his longtime friend, lobbyist Michael McClain, was indicted in the ComEd bribery case. Also indicted were Anne Pramaggiore, a former top ComEd and Exelon official; ex-ComEd lobbyist John Hooker; and former local ComEd consultant Jay Doherty, the former head of the City Club.
Federal prosecutors allege that ComEd engaged in a yearslong scheme to win Madigan's favor by putting his political friends on the ComEd payroll, hiring interns from the speaker's Southwest Side 13th Ward, where he has been committeeman for half a century, and placing his candidate on the utility's board.
Since the indictments, 10 House Democrats said they would not support Madigan's reelection as speaker when lawmakers convene for the new General Assembly on Jan. 13. They join eight others who had previously said they wouldn't back Madigan.
Democrats are expected to have 73 members in the new House, and Madigan needs 60 votes to retain the speaker's gavel. The defections of the 18 lawmakers leave Madigan with only 55 votes.
Madigan's opponents said they believe there are additional House Democrats who will not support the speaker.
Madigan on Thursday has issued a strongly worded denial of any wrongdoing and lashed out at his critics. But that statement left unclear whether he would seek another term as speaker — something he sought to make clear on Friday.
Madigan has not been charged in the case.
Madigan has held the speakership for all but two years since 1983. He is the longest-tenured state legislative leader in the history of the nation.