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Several members of the Illinois Democratic State Central Committee on Monday -- representing nearly every African American vote in the state -- sent a letter to Democratic Party Chairman and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, criticizing him for trying to do away with the office of the lieutenant governor.
"As party chairman, your role is the advancement of the interest of the Democratic Party of Illinois. As Speaker, you of course can offer a Constitutional Amendment that would profoundly alter the State's electoral and succession processes," the coalition wrote. "However, advancing legislation that impacts the Democratic Party without a discussion or an endorsement from the Democratic Party leadership is premature. There should be no divergent interests between you in your role as party chairman and us in our role as party committeemen and committeewomen. Therefore, prior to your public announcement about your support of the elimination of a constitutional office, the Democratic State Central Committee should have been consulted."
Authors of the missive include Congressman Bobby L. Rush, State Representative Constance "Connie" Howard, Congressman Jesse L Jackson, Jr., Ald. Carrie Austin, Rep. Danny K Davis, State Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough and Committeeman James K. Polk.
Those officials currently sit on the panel tasked to choose a replacement lieutenant governor nominee after Scott Lee Cohen said he would not continue to seek the office. He officially signed a letter of resignation over the weekend.
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown issued a statement in response late this afternoon:
"The speaker will take the vetting request under review, but he disagrees with the notion that a legislator should check with a political committee before introducing legislation."
The State Board of Elections will certify the primary election results on March 5. The replacement nominee can be made after that date.