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Government & Politics

Speaker Madigan Sued By Primary Opponent

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Jason Gonzales campaign website
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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's failed primary opponent is suing over what he says amounts to defamation.

Leading up to the March primary, Madigan made a campaign issue of Jason Gonzales's past criminal record --- crimes for which Gonzales had been pardoned, by former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

Gonzales is also complaining about two other "false" candidates with Hispanic surnames who were on the ballot for the Democratic nomination. He says they were recruited by Madigan and his affiliates to crowd the ballot and split the Latino vote.

"This isn’t about me being a sore loser. It isn’t about me crying because I lost. It’s about justice. It’s about justice for me. It’s about justice for every candidate who has come before and will go ahead," Gonzales said Monday at a press conference. 

Gonzales says ads aired by Madigan caused him emotional distress. He is seeking money from his civil suit, but he did not say how much.  His attorney is Cook County Republican Anthony Peraica.

In a recent interview with public radio, Madigan accused Republican Governor Bruce Rauner of propping up Gonzales.

"In the last primary election, friends of Bruce Rauner spend over $1 mill in an Illinois House District on the Southwest side of Chicago attempting to remove me from office. The voters of that district recognized who the enemy was and voted to keep me in office," Madigan said.

In a statement Madigan said the lawsuit is "without merit."

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