Madigan injects Blagojevich and his ‘mess’ into re-election bid
By ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org March 1, 2012 5:30PM
Part of a Michael Madigan's campaign poster for his re-election bid for State Representative
Updated: April 3, 2012 8:15AM
Illinois’ Speaker of the House Mike Madigan invokes a caricature of his least-favorite governor, Rod Blagojevich, in a rare humorous re-election flyer he is sending to constituents.
Madigan, a 40-year veteran of the house, doesn’t usually have to run too hard for re-election.
But Madigan, 69, faces a spirited if under-funded challenge in this year’s Democratic primary election from Michele Piszczor, 25, so he is leaving nothing to chance, populating the front lawns of his Southwest Side district with Madigan signs and sending out a mailing that makes fun of Blagojevich.
Madigan, who is also chairman of the state Democratic Party, never got along with Blagojevich, who in 2003 became the state’s first Democratic governor in 26 years but is now facing a 14-year prison sentence for corruption.
“When lawbreaking politicians make a mess of things, we need strong leaders to clean things up,” the flyer says against a backdrop of a Blagojevich character standing in front of a decrepit frame house, atypical of the brick bungalows in Madigan’s district.
The flipside of the flyer shows Madigan speaking to a Chicago Police officer and says Madigan fights to bring misbehaving public officials to justice.
“Michael Madigan is making sure crooked politicians who betray the public’s trust pay for their crimes,” the flyer says.
Piszczor, a former administrative assistant at a suburban law firm, laughed when told of Madigan’s flyer.
“I don’t now how he’s going to vote in Springfield to ‘clean up’ anything when he is a corrupt politician himself,” Piszczor said.
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown responded: “The record doesn’t reflect that.”
Dismissing Piszczor’s campaign, Brown said “It’s really a Republican campaign. That campaign hasn’t caught any traction.”
The flyer does not refer to a specific legislative initiative but rather to “The ethics laws we’ve changed and improved on over the last 10-plus years,” Brown said.
Brown did not say how much the campaign spent on the mailer or how many homes it went to, but he said the amount spent would be reported as required by law to the Illinois State Board of Elections. It was not posted as of Thursday on Madigan’s million-dollar campaign fund, just other recent expenditures such as $17,000 for White Sox tickets and even $8,500 for Cubs tickets.
Those tickets are for volunteers and other legislators — Madigan pays his own way, Brown said.
Piszczor has taken in only about $40,000, half of that from Republican businessman Jack Roeser, and his business. Another $10,000 came from Republican Renaissance PAC.
Piszczor insists she really is a Democrat but says she needs to take Republican money to run against Madigan.
Two other candidates in the race Piszczor dismisses as Madigan allies, Olivia Trejo and Mike Rodriguez, did not return calls to the Chicago Sun-Times.