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Lisa Madigan: Dad wouldn’t ‘have to step down’ if I make bid for governor

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan  |  Sun-Times file photo

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan | Sun-Times file photo

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Updated: July 30, 2013 8:34AM

lllinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan doesn’t believe her father, Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, would have to step down if she makes a run for governor.

Madigan, after serving on a panel Thursday hosted by the influential Emily’s List at Willis Tower, was unequivocal when posed the question now being constantly raised. “He wouldn’t have to. He wouldn’t have to step down,” she retorted to a reporter, emphasizing the move would not be a requirement.

Asked then — if not a requirement — whether she believed he should step down should she make a 2014 gubernatorial bid, Madigan was more cagey.

“I’m not going to give my father political advice,” she said.

Madigan had joined other high-powered women in politics on the panel at the Metropolitan Club sponsored by the 28-year-old, women’s political organization that backs pro-choice female Democrats running for Congress, state and municipal government.

The panel, themed “Strength in Numbers: Women Leading the Way,” featured U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary and former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius; city of Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely; and Emily’s List Executive Director Amy Dacey.

Moderated by MSNBC’s Karen Finney, it was a frank and intimate discussion of the challenges facing women running for and managing life in political office, by a group dedicated to increasing their numbers nationwide.

On stage, Madigan was asked by Finney the other frequent question. Will she run?

“Well, here’s what I will say. First and foremost, there are other pieces of this that are absolutely a necessity if you’re a woman, and that is the support of other women. I’m very lucky that that base is there,” Madigan responded.

“In terms of decision-making, a lot of fundraising is going on, and now I have a treadmill in my office so I can walk as I make those calls. Yes, you will have a decision sooner rather than later,” she said.

Madigan’s response regarding whether her father would be required to step down, mirrors her father’s response last September at the Democratic National Convention. Pressed then by reporters, her father said he has no intention of retiring if his daughter aimed for the Executive Mansion, and that he didn’t see any reason for her not to run while he is in control of the Illinois House.

“Why not?” Michael Madigan had asked reporters then. “Why not?”

His daughter’s comments came as David Axelrod, the architect behind President Obama’s political ascent, speaking before the City Club of Chicago the same day, described Lisa Madigan as facing a “genuine problem” if she intends to run for governor and her father remained in his post.

Lisa Madigan and Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock met later in the day, presumably to discuss her potential candidacy and the group’s financial support.

“Emily’s has been proud to support Lisa from the beginning. We think she’s done a fantastic job as attorney general, and we do think she would make a fantastic governor,” Schriock said.

But pushed by reporters afterward to define the “sooner rather than later” timeline for her announcing whether she’ll run, Madigan deflected.

“I don’t have a deadline,” she said. “There are a whole series of issues that I’m dealing with, and if all those things are resolved, they will decide whether I’m going to seek higher office.”

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