Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan will be on the ballot in just one of Illinois’ 118 House districts this November, but his name and reputation will be featured in electoral battles throughout the state as Governor Bruce Rauner and the Republican Party use Madigan against every Democrat from JB Pritzker on down to maybe even mosquito-abatement district races. Can his lousy statewide image be used to defeat his fellow Democrats?

According to a recent Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll, Democrat JB Pritzker leads Republican Governor Bruce Rauner by nine points, 36-27, with 26 percent choosing an unnamed third-party candidate and 11 percent undecided. In other words, slightly more people said they preferred third party and/or were undecided than supported the frontrunner Pritzker.

If you ask anyone at the Statehouse about House Speaker Michael Madigan’s former chief of staff Tim Mapes, they'll all say he "made the trains run on time.”

Pointing out the holes in Maryann Loncar’s allegations against Representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie) is like shooting fish in a barrel. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that absolutely everything she said was untrue.

For weeks now, some Democrats have been wondering if their party intends to run a “coordinated campaign” this year and have asked what it might look like. A coordinated campaign means all the party’s candidates are working together under one umbrella group.

Last week’s press conference announcing his latest amendatory veto was, without a doubt, the best press pop Governor Bruce Rauner has had since he fired his top staff last July and brought in that Illinois Policy Institute crowd (whom he also fired).

“Nothing’s more important for a governor than having a good budget because that allows you to manage the state to do your job.”

Let that recent quote from former Governor Jim Edgar, as reported by the State Journal-Register, sink in for a bit.

Eastern Illinois University’s legislative liaison Katie Anselment had some strong words for legislators during an Illinois Senate Higher Education Committee hearing last week.

Four years ago, I mistakenly believed candidate Bruce Rauner would take a page from Governor Rod Blagojevich’s 2014 reelection playbook and immediately bury Governor Pat Quinn under a mountain of negative advertising. Instead, Rauner waited until July 11 to air his first general-election TV ad.

So what’s it gonna be this year?

Several months ago, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff Tim Mapes made copies of candidate nominating petitions for what appeared to be every single candidate in the state, regardless of party or office sought. Madigan’s spokesperson was mum when asked why.

It turns out that a database was constructed of the names of all the petition circulators who worked during the primary.

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