Two birds of a feather?
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Democratic Party's powerful gatekeeper, tends to keep endorsements for Chicago mayor close to the vest—at least in recent years. This fall, however, the politician (who moonlights as a committeeman for the South Side's 13th Ward) apparently worked behind the scenes to help Rahm Emanuel get re-elected to a second term at the helm of City Hall.
According to the Sun-Times, local Madigan allies worked to assemble the signatures necessary to ensure Emanuel a spot on the 2015 mayoral ticket. The paper found that 66 out of 374 petition-wranglers have previously corralled names for Madigan-approved Democratic candidates including his daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan; Rep. Kathleen Willis; and the speaker himself. Write Chris Fusco and Dan Mihalopoulos:
Madigan's support, should it continue, would give the mayor a formidable group of door-to-door workers as the election draws near. Madigan’s ward organization—filled with city, state and Cook County employees—is legendary for fanning out from his Southwest Side power base to help Democrats win legislative races statewide.
"It shouldn't be surprising that Democratic committeemen are supporting our efforts," Emanuel campaign spokesman Steve Mayberry said Thursday. "The mayor has had a very constructive working relationship with both Speaker Madigan and (13th Ward) Alderman (Marty) Quinn, and we were happy to have members of their organization gathering signatures for the mayor."
The election will take place Feb. 25. The mayor, whose blunt manner has been a turn-off to some, unveiled a new campaign slogan this week—Chicago Together—that aims to undo his reputation as indifferent toward issues plaguing Chicagoans in low-income sections of town.