Madigan resigns as Democratic party chairman

Tillis-Cunningham Debate

ILLINOIS (NEXSTAR) — Michael Madigan is releasing his control on the Democratic Party of Illinois.

The chairman and former Speaker of the House resigned his post atop the party on Monday night one day after naming his replacement to serve in the state legislature.

“Over the last two decades, we have elected a diverse array of Democrats across Illinois and helped send a hometown Chicago leader to the White House, turning Illinois into a Democratic stronghold in the Midwest,” Madigan said through a spokeswoman. “Together, we faced conservative extremism and stood up for working men and women. I’m confident the Democratic Party of Illinois will continue to cement our place as a beacon of progressive values.”

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough was appointed as an interim chair until the State Central Committee can convene within the next 30 days to name Madigan’s replacement. Senator Dick Durbin is reportedly interested in the position.

“One thing everyone knows about Illinois is that it’s a reliably blue state in the Midwest and throughout the country, and that’s in large part because of the leadership of Mike Madigan,” Yarbrough said. “Democrats across Illinois owe Chairman Madigan a huge debt of gratitude for the support, resources and time he’s dedicated to candidates and races at every level.”

New House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) congratulated his predecessor in a statement.

“I thank Michael Madigan for his 20-plus years of service as the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, which has left us with a supermajority in both chambers of the General Assembly,” Welch said. “I have full confidence in the state central committee’s ability to select a new chair. The Illinois Democratic party remains strong, and we will continue our work to create a more equitable state.”

Madigan’s individual campaign account still holds $13.5 million in contributions, dwarfing the $1.9 million in the state party account. Madigan has routinely funneled money back and forth between his various campaign accounts, but is also grandfathered in to a state law that allows veteran lawmakers to use leftover campaign funds on personal expenses.

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