Illinois AG Won't Run for Re-Election

by | September 18, 2017

By Rick Pearson and Kim Geiger

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Friday she won't run for re-election in 2018.

"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," Madigan said in a statement. "I have dedicated my career to helping people. That will continue to be my focus, and I am looking forward to finding new ways to do that with the passion that I have brought to my work as Attorney General."

Madigan was first elected to the post in 2002 and had previously said she had planned to seek a fifth term next year.

In her statement, she did not say what might come next but outlined several accomplishments.

"I look forward to continuing my work as Attorney General and then taking on new, challenging opportunities at the end of my term," Madigan said in her statement.

The attorney general's announcement came with little warning and quickly consumed Illinois politics. Stepping off the stage at an event to launch the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability at the South Shore Cultural Center, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he had just learned of Madigan's decision.

"First of all, I just heard, literally a second ago, about this," Emanuel told reporters. "Let me just say this, without, just hearing about it: Lisa Madigan has a life of public service, one of which she should be proud of, in the sense of her work not just as attorney general, but also as state senator.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, the attorney general's father, said in a statement "it has been my privilege to watch her fight for the people of Illinois and do the right thing every day."

"No father could be prouder of his daughter's personal and professional accomplishments, and I look forward to watching her continue her commitment to helping people in a new capacity," he said.

Earlier this year, Republican Erika Harold had announced she'd run for attorney general next year.

The attorney general has not been seriously challenged by Republicans since she first ran for the office in 2002 as a North Side state senator with four years of experience. Neither has she risen to higher office despite being seen as a future Democratic star, mentioned as a contender for everything from governor and U.S. Senate to the Illinois Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court.

Madigan has passed on a series of potential opportunities and once again will be staying put.

Last month, Madigan sued the city of Chicago, contending Mayor Rahm Emanuel's reforms are not sufficient to prevent the Chicago Police Department from continuing a pattern of deadly and excessive force that disproportionately hurts African-Americans and Latinos.

Madigan's move effectively pushes Emanuel toward acknowledging he will have to accept a federal judge's oversight of the Police Department, a still-to-be-negotiated agreement that likely will cost the city millions of dollars in reforms and run for several years.

Chicago Tribune's John Byrne contributed.

(c)2017 the Chicago Tribune