The hottest political rumor sweeping Illinois last week was that state House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has held the speakership for all but two of the last 30 years, will soon announce he is relinquishing both that office and the chairmanship of the state Democratic Party.
The reason, Prairie State sources tell me, is that the 70-year-old speaker’s daughter, Lisa Madigan, has decided to relinquish her own office as state attorney general and seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.
Lisa Madigan had reportedly been eyeing a bid for the state Supreme Court but finally decided on a bid for governor regardless of whether Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn seeks re-election or not. The likely Republican nominee is state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who narrowly lost the nomination for governor in 2010.
Two House Youngs Eyed for Retirement
As pundits watch the House of Representatives and try to guess which Republican members will announce their exodus in 2014, the names of two lawmakers consistently crop up and they are both Young: Reps. Bill Young of Florida, 82, first elected to the House in 1970, and Don Young of Alaska, who turns 80 in June and has been in the House since winning a special election in 1973.
Bill Young, who chaired the powerful House Appropriations Committee from 1998-2004, has used up all his waivers to extend a three-term limit as chairman of any major committee.
Don Young, who nearly lost renomination in 2008 to present Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, is under investigation from the House Ethics Committee for questionable expenses accrued on congressional trips.
Asa Has Clear Path for Arkansas Governor
Former Republican Rep. Asa Hutchinson, after two losing statewide races, now appears to have the governorship of Arkansas in his grasp.
With Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe retiring in 2014 and Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr announcing late last year that he would not be a candidate, the field is cleared for the strongly conservative Hutchinson.
A close ally of former Gov. Mike Huckabee and a former Bush administration official, Hutchinson, 62, most recently has been in the national news for his role as overseer for the National Rifle Association’s plan to protect schools.
Lynch Shifts Ground on Abortion
Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts has changed his position on abortion, one of the few areas where the Senate hopeful was truly to the right of his primary foe, Rep. Ed Markey.
The Boston Globe reported on Monday that Lynch — long considered strongly pro-life — said he believes that the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision recognizing abortion as a constitutional right is correct, and he would oppose any Supreme Court nominees who don’t take this position.
“Apparently, that’s what they think they’re supposed to do, politicians with their eyes on higher office, at least in Massachusetts,” Anne Fox, head of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, told the Globe.
Fox pointed out that her group had campaigned for Lynch in past races and he sported a 100 percent rating with Citizens for Life during his stint in the state Legislature.
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