Look out, Mark Kirk.
Lisa Madigan isn’t running for governor, she’s got $5 million in the bank, and nobody really wants to be a state attorney general for 16 years.
Your Ward Room blogger predicted last week that Madigan wouldn’t run for governor, because she couldn’t win -- in part because Illinois voters are sick of a decade of one-party Democratic rule, in part because her father’s continued service as House Speaker would complicate her campaign, and her administration. Madigan cited the latter reason in announcing she will seek a fourth term as attorney general. Staying in power is more important to Michael Madigan than advancing his daughter’s political career.
Madigan could, however, win a Senate election. She was President Barack Obama’s first choice to run for his seat in 2010, but passed on that race, too. Kirk beat the Democrats’ back-up candidate, Alexi Giannoulias, but did so with less than half the vote, in a big Republican year.
But 2016 won’t be a Republican year. It will be a presidential election year, and Illinois is a naturally Democratic state. It’s quite possible that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat’s nominee. They say suburban women decide elections in Illinois. Well, suburban women love Madigan, and Hillary grew up as a suburban Illinois woman. Clinton and Madigan would be a formidable team at the top of the ticket. And as a mother with an attractive young family, she’d present a more appealing image than the bachelor Kirk.
Madigan will hardly have to spend any of that $5 million to keep her job. All she has to do is file her petitions and beat whichever hapless obscurity the Republicans put up against her.
Of course, Madigan has now passed on two big races. She’s forever a potential candidate, never a real one. Kirk’s best hope may be that she dithers once again.