Dems Keep Super-Majority, As Madigan Machine Works Its Magic

Nov 5, 2014

House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks on the Illinois House floor in the final days of the end of the spring session, that ended in May.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

With Bruce Rauner's win, Illinois Republicans have something to celebrate. But they failed to make gains in the General Assembly, which could have big repercussions for Rauner down the line.

Two years ago, Illinois Democrats gained historic super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

There were more than enough Democrats in the Senate, and just enough (71) Democratic members of the House, to override a governor's veto.

Then, the governor was also a Democrat -- Pat Quinn.

Next year, Illinois Democrats will once again hold veto-proof majorities.

But the governor will be a Republican -- Bruce Rauner.

Rauner had tried to help Republicans make dents in Democrats' power hold on the General Assembly -- contributing money to races, and to the state party.

It didn't work.

House Republicans failed to gain even a single seat. Which means House Speaker Michael Madigan will continue to preside over a bare minimum super-majority.

Democrats in the Senate lost one member -- incumbent Mike Jacobs, of the Quad Cities. But they still have 39 of the Senate's 59 seats.

Three-fifths of the members of both chambers are needed to override a veto, but also to authorize borrowing and to have certain bills take effect immediately; the additional votes likewise help the Democratic party leaders get their way, even the caucus is split on an issue.

Some races are so close there is a chance a recount, or tallying of provisional and mail-in ballots, could alter the results, but that appears unlikely.