House Speaker Michael Madigan said Friday he still has the support of a "significant number" of House Democrats and that he plans to run again for speaker.
In a brief statement issued late Friday afternoon, Madigan gave no indication that he is stepping down despite defections among some House Democrats.
"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. "I plan to be a candidate for speaker and today I confirmed that I continue to have support from a significant number of House Democratic caucus members."
Madigan reportedly was calling House Democratic members this week to see if he continued to have support from them. Increasing numbers of House Democrats have said they will not vote for Madigan for another term as speaker because of the Commonwealth Edison scandal.
ComEd entered a deferred prosecution agreement and paid a $200 million fine after federal prosecutors charged it participated in a bribery scheme to curry favor with Madigan by giving jobs and contracts to Madigan associates. Federal prosecutors said ComEd received $150 from legislation passed the benefitted the company.
This week, close Madigan associate Michael McClain and four other persons were charged with facilitating that scheme. Madigan has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.
Calls have mounted for Madigan to step down as House speaker or not to run again for the post. New lawmakers will be sworn in January 13 when a new speaker also will be formally elected.
Democrats are expected to have 73 members in the new General Assembly. As of Friday, 18 of them said they will not vote for Madigan, which would leave him short of the votes for reelection.
Gov. JB Pritzker has said Madigan should publicly answer questions about the ComEd situation or step down as speaker. He acknowledged Friday that he's limited about what he can do about Madigan.
"The speaker can hold a press conference anytime he wants to," Pritzker said. "I'm not the one who is ultimately the judge of this. The decisions that get made about who the speaker of the House is ought to be and should be and are made by the members of the House."