Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced today she will not seek re-election to a record fifth term. First sworn in as the state’s chief legal officer in 2003, she is already the longest-serving attorney general in Illinois history.
The announcement comes as a surprise, as the attorney general said earlier this year that she would seek to hold on to her post in 2018.
“I still have much work to do on many important issues, and I will continue to give my best to the people of Illinois and the Office of Attorney General every day through the end of my term in January 2019,” Madigan said in a press release.
“As I look ahead, I believe that the end of my fourth term as Attorney General will be the right time for me to seek a new challenge.”
Lisa Madigan is the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. The elder Madigan stands as the longest-serving state House speaker in modern U.S. history.
Notably, on Sept. 14, a top House lieutenant of the speaker, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, also announced her intention not to seek re-election. Currie was the state’s first woman to serve as majority leader. She is also the only lawmaker who has voted for Madigan for speaker every two years since he first took the leadership role in 1983 (save for the vote in 1995, when Republicans controlled the chamber) – for a total of 17 votes.
“No father could be prouder of his daughter’s personal and professional accomplishments,” the speaker said in a statement posted by political blog CapitolFax, “and I look forward to watching her continue her commitment to helping people in a new capacity.”
When the attorney general was exploring a gubernatorial run in 2013, the speaker made it clear he would not step down from the post he has now held for 32 of the last 34 years.
“I feel strongly that the state would not be well served by having a Governor and Speaker of the House from the same family and have never planned to run for Governor if that would be the case,” Lisa Madigan said in a statement at the time. “With Speaker Madigan planning to continue in office, I will not run for Governor.”
One wonders why the attorney general felt serving as governor would have crossed an ethical line, and why her current position does not. A 2016 review of legislative rules in all 50 states revealed House Speaker Mike Madigan stands as the most powerful state legislative leader in the nation.