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June 17, 2009

Madigan sets timetable

Senate Democrats continue to aggressively court Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and now the top Democratic recruit has now set a firm timetable for deciding her future political plans, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is under pressure from top Democrats to abandon her long-expected campaign for governor and instead seek President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat next year, a switch she's seriously considering, say officials in Washington and Chicago.

Madigan's political director, Mary Morrissey, said Tuesday that Madigan will probably decide "within four to six weeks" whether to run for governor, Senate, or a third term as attorney general.

"They're all still real possibilities," said Morrissey, who confirmed that Madigan is being nudged toward Washington.

"'Pressure' is a funny word — it has negative connotations to it. … But she has been receiving contact from the Democratic (Senatorial Campaign) Committee … and calls from Democratic members of the Senate," Morrissey said. She declined to say which senators have called.

Others who are closely attuned to the jockeying for the Illinois seat say bluntly that top Democrats want Madigan to run for the Senate seat, in part because they want to settle quickly on a strong party candidate to get the focus off the embattled incumbent, Democratic Sen. Roland Burris.

We’ve written here before that it makes more sense for Madigan to pursue the gubernatorial race. She would be able to keep the $4 million-plus in her state campaign account, and Gov. Pat Quinn appears to be a more beatable opponent than well-funded state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

Still, her indecision is freezing the Illinois Senate field in place – with RFK son Chris Kennedy still not announcing his expected candidacy, and Republican recruit Mark Kirk remaining coy about his future plans.  And it will likely remain that way until Madigan makes her final decision.