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June 17, 2009

Madigan's demands

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reports that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is demanding an endorsement from President Obama and a clear Democratic primary field as the two conditions for her to run for the Senate.

The White House looks willing to play ball, in light of breaking news that President Obama met with Madigan last week to discuss a potential Senate candidacy. 

But the second condition looks very difficult to achieve, with state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias already in the race and raising big bucks for his exploratory committee with plans to make a formal announcement next month. And there’s no love lost between the Madigan and Giannoulias camps, making any kind of backroom deal between the two highly unlikely.

Several sources close to the Giannoulias camp said there is “no way” the state Treasurer would bow out of the race, and that he’s in it to win it.  That would mean that if Madigan wanted to pursue a Senate race, she'd have to face a tough, expensive primary — without the benefit of the nearly $5 million in her state campaign account.

Madigan's political adviser recently said she will decide whether to pursue the Senate race, a gubernatorial campaign against Pat Quinn or for reelection as state attorney general in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

UPDATE: Giannoulias put out a strongly worded statement this morning portraying Madigan — the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan — as part of the old brand of Illinois politics.

"When Barack Obama ran for this seat in 2004, he was not the choice of the insiders. He became the choice of the people because of the strength of his ideas and his ideals," Giannoulias said.

"Illinois has been ill-served by state party leaders who think they know better than voters. Now more than ever, anyone who seeks this seat must convince voters they have the ideas that will get our economy on its feet and put our people back to work, not just prove that they have the political clout to demand a clear field and win appointment."