Ill. GOP target Mike Madigan at RNC

House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago, smiles as he talks to a staff member in the final hours of session Saturday, July 24, 2004, at the State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Randy Squires)
August 27, 2012 8:21:52 PM PDT
Throughout the GOP Convention, Illinois Republicans will rally around their uninvited guest of dishonor. He is Democrat Michael Madigan -- 41 years a state representative, all but two of the last 29 as House speaker.

"I think a few years ago, there were many, many people who did not know who Mike Madigan was who now know who Mike Madigan is," said Sen. Christine Radogno (R) minority leader.

"I think people need to know what he's done and really what he hasn't done," said Rep. Tom Cross (R) House minority leader.

"He's got his fingerprints on every piece of legislation for the last 42 years. Fire Madigan is a good mantra for us and people do understand it now," said Pat Brady, Ill. Republican chairman.

"Always good to have a common enemy to focus on, it really brings people together," said Sen. Radogno.

All the delegates and party supporters get a free "Fire Madigan" button. And if you want t-shirts and other gear, go to firemadigan.com.

"They're gonna be the hottest, trendiest thing in the state of Illinois for the next four years. Everybody go to FireMadigan.com," Brady said.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said,"Republicans have tried to get Mike Madigan for 25 years, he said, adding, "I'm told their t-shirts are not even made in America".

But Madigan critics say that the state's worsening fiscal and pension crisis are giving the movement traction while demanding that millionaire lawyer Madigan reveal the extent of his personal wealth.

"At the presidential level we talk about Mitt Romney releasing his tax returns. I'd like to see Mike Madigan release his tax returns," said Dan Proft, WLS talk show host.

Ill. GOP focuses on Rutherford, Dillard

More than half the Illinois RNC delegates say they would support State Treasurer Dan Rutherford for governor in 2014, according to a Daily Herald poll.

"I appreciate the fact they support my style of leadership and ability to put something together," Rutherford said.

The poll did not discourage Senator Kirk Dillard, who lost the 2010 Republican primary for governor by a scant 193 votes.

"If I was resolved to run for governor last time, you know I'm more resolved today," Dillard said.

Dillard and Rutherford -- who attended the Illinois Republican breakfast in Clearwater, Florida, on Monday -- got the face time. But downstate Congressman Aaron Shock and state senators Bill Brady of Bloomington and Matt Murphy of Palatine are also considering a 2014 candidacy.

"Until we get the governorship back, I don't think we're back as a party," Former IL Gov. Jim Edgar said.

In 2010, Edgar supported Dillard, his former chief of staff.

"If he's interested in being Governor, I wouldn't sit this one out," Edgar said of Dillard.

Daily Herald reporter Kerry Lester notes that poll frontrunner Rutherford, who is Mitt Romney's Illinois chairman, selected most of this delegation.

"So he knows them, he schmoozed with them, he's fundraised with them," Lester said.

But Lester says those Romney delegates could be the foundation of a Rutherford gubernatorial campaign.

"He is connecting with the right people who are comfortable about him and recognizing that he might make a bid for office," Lester said.

Undeterred, Dillard says he'll make a decision before the end of the year.

"Right after the election in November, I'll figure out with my family where I'm at," Dillard said.

Rutherford says for now, he'll focus on November 6th.

"My focus is on electing Mitt Romney President of the United States," Rutherford said.


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