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Madigan and Obama Weren't Always Allies

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Madigan and Obama Weren't Always Allies

During the roll call of states at the Democratic National Convention, House Speaker Michael Madigan took the microphone to announce that Illinois was casting its ballots for its favorite son, Barack Obama. As chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, that was his job. But Madigan hasn’t always been an Obamanaut.

In 2004, when Obama ran for the U.S. Senate, Madigan supported his fellow Southwest Side Irishman, Dan Hynes. Hibernian tribalism and neighborhood politics gave him no other option, really. The Hyneses are from Beverly; the Madigans, from West Lawn. Dan’s father, Tom Hynes, was a former Senate President; Madigan was House Speaker. Both patriarchs were in the process of moving their family bases to the North Side. Changing demographics on the South Side meant it would be easier for the Irish to get elected up there. Dan Hynes lived in Belmont-Cragin and Attorney General Lisa Madigan in North Center.

In the primary, Hynes received 63 percent of the vote in the 13th Ward, of which Madigan is boss, to Obama’s 15 percent. That was Hynes’s best performance in the entire city, better even than the Daleys’ 11th Ward, where he got 61 percent, or his native 19th Ward, which only gave him 51. Overall, Obama beat Hynes in the city, 66-15.

After the election, Madigan continued to resist Obama’s ascendance, snidely referring to him as “the Messiah.” When Obama backed his fundraiser/basketball buddy Alexi Giannoulias for treasurer, Madigan made sure the state party endorsed another candidate, Knox County State’s Attorney Paul Mangieri. Obama’s candidate won.       

Wrote Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller in 2007

Sources close to the usually easy-going Obama say he has an enmity for Madigan unlike anyone else. And there have been quiet grumblings for months that Obama might back his own statewide slate in four years if Lisa Madigan tries to step up the political ladder to the governor's office. Obama and Senate President Emil Jones are closely allied, and there is little love lost between Jones and Madigan, so that's definitely adding fuel to the fire.
Madigan is a political realist, though. Recognizing that Obama had become the most prominent Democrat in Illinois, he agreed to move up the 2008 presidential primary to February to help Obama on Super Tuesday.
 
On Wednesday, Madigan told Peoria’s WCBU radio that no hard feelings remain from the 2004 election.


"To my knowledge, my support of Hynes has not prejudiced my relationship with the President. I would hope not,” Madigan said.


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