Mike Madigan opponent unknown to Illinois GOP -- once again

November 5, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Michael Madigan has many critics who contend he is wedded to legislative power and has forgotten about accountability to the voting public. He disagrees.

"So I'll run through three elections in about a year's time. If that's not accountability, than what is accountability?" House Speaker Madigan said on October 24, 2012.

The second of his three election tests in a year's time comes Tuesday when the speaker is challenged on the ballot by Robert Handzik for 22nd District state representative.

The state's Republicans have had "Oust Madigan" as a mantra, so voters might expect they'd be helping Handzik. But Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said he doesn't know Handzik.

"Never known him, never seen him, never talked to him. He's never voted Republican. So I have no idea who he is," IL Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said.

ABC7 attempted to reach Handzik at the address attributed to the candidate. He doesn't have a yard sign and records don't show a political committee or any money raised.

Last spring, Handzik did in fact vote Republican in the primary after having consistently voted Democratic in previous elections.

Nobody answered the door, so ABC7 tried by phone. The woman who answered hung up. On the second call, ABC7's Paul Meincke left a message.

Two years ago, Madigan was challenged by Patrick John Ryan, a streets and sanitation worker who failed to show for a Republican fundraiser- held for him. Republicans say Ryan was a fake candidate. They consider Handzik the same.

"I did try to recruit a candidate down there but they don't want to go down there and deal with the Madigoons and the rest of the nonsense. I can't blame people. That's a Hispanic district, and it's represented by a guy who's been there for 40 years," Brady said.

Madigan won his race two years ago with 67-percent of the vote. He is, of course, expected to win big Tuesday.

Madigan's third election in a year comes in January when the Illinois House votes on whether he will continue as speaker of the house. That depends on the House make-up.

The Republicans would need to capture six seats to take control of the house; and GOP leaders concede that is a tall order.

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