Lisa Madigan seeks record-breaking 5th term

Lisa Madigan seeks record-breaking 5th term

Austin Berg

Austin Berg is the Senior Writer for the Illinois Policy Institute.

MAY 17, 2017
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will look to extend her record as the longest-serving attorney general in Illinois history. Her father, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, has remained the state’s most powerful state legislative leader throughout her tenure.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan plans to seek re-election in 2018. First sworn in as the state’s chief legal officer in 2003, she is already the longest-serving attorney general in Illinois history.

Lisa Madigan is the stepdaughter of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. The elder Madigan stands as the longest-serving state House speaker in modern U.S. history.

When the attorney general was exploring a gubernatorial run in 2013, these two realities collided. Speaker Madigan made it clear he would not step down from the post he has now held for 32 of the last 34 years.

Longtime political commentator Rich Miller wasn’t surprised by the move.

“Maybe she expected her father would step aside, but nobody who knew him thought he would,” Miller said in an interview for a documentary on the speaker, produced by Illinois Policy, previously known as Illinois Policy Action.

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Indeed, the attorney general decided not to run because of her father’s role in state government.

“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,” Lisa Madigan said in a statement. “With Speaker Madigan planning to continue in office, I will not run for governor.”

One wonders why Attorney General Madigan feels the governorship crosses an ethical line, but her current position does not. A 2016 review of legislative rules in all 50 states revealed House Speaker Madigan stands as the most powerful state legislative leader in the nation.

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