Madigan Resigns From Democratic Party Chairmanship

Feb 22, 2021

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday resigned from his role heading the state’s Democratic Party just one day after he told reporters he didn’t know when or if he might leave that job.

Madigan, who had served as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois since 1998, also resigned from the Illinois House seat he held for more than 50 years last week. After using his remaining political power as Chicago’s 13th Ward Committeeman to install a 26-year-old political protege as his replacement in the House on Sunday, Madigan told reporters that going forward, he planned to be an “active Democrat in whatever role is available to me.”

Asked if that meant he would step down from his role as Chairman, Madigan said he hadn’t “gotten to that bridge yet.” He was then pushed to consider when he might get to that point.

“I have no idea,” Madigan said.

But not even 30 hours later, Madigan did apparently get to that bridge, resigning via a statement touting the Democratic Party’s wins in Illinois in the more than two decades the former Speaker had been at the helm.

“Over the last two decades, we have elected a diverse array of Democrats across Illinois and helped send a hometown Chicago leader to the White House, turning Illinois into a Democratic stronghold in the Midwest,” Madigan said. “Together, we faced conservative extremism and stood up for working men and women. I’m confident the Democratic Party of Illinois will continue to cement our place as a beacon of progressive values.”

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, who currently serves as the party’s vive chair, will serve as interim chair until a new leader is selected, which must happen within 30 days, according to state law. The new chair will serve out the remainder of Madigan’s four year term, set to expire after the March 2022 primary election.

“One thing everyone knows about Illinois is that it’s a reliably blue state in the Midwest and throughout the country, and that’s in large part because of the leadership of Mike Madigan,” Yarbrough said in the statement. “Democrats across Illinois owe Chairman Madigan a huge debt of gratitude for the support, resources and time he’s dedicated to candidates and races at every level.”