GOP suggests Biss borrows Madigan's knife to stab him in the back
Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) slaps Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) with one hand and reaches into his pocket with another, according to a recent Illinois Republican Party press release.
The GOP focused on Biss’ appearance on WCIA TV's "Capitol Connection," in which moderator Mark Maxwell pressed him on his connections to Madigan.
While Biss has made a point of distancing himself from Madigan throughout his career and been critical of the longtime speaker on the campaign trail, Madigan has provided Biss with more than $300,000 in campaign financing in his capacity as chairperson of the Democratic Party of Illinois, the GOP said.
“…I’m proud to be a Democrat, and I work with other Democrats to make sure that we advance the goals of the Democratic Party in general elections,” Biss said. “I also have – from Day One and consistently – been a loud, outspoken reformer. I think it’s not just possible to do both; I think it’s necessary to do both. I think what we need in the Democratic Party is people who are, on the one hand, loyal to the party, and at the same … identifying problems in the party, one of which problems is that Mike Madigan has been speaker for too long and has too much power.”
Maxwell argued that less than 10 months ago during the general election. Biss ran the Leading Illinois for Tomorrow (LIFT) super PAC, which raised $10 million to combat then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner by leveraging the speaker’s connections. A half-million dollars of LIFT’s funding came from Madigan’s campaign committee, but Biss described the PAC as a unified Democratic effort rather than a Madigan initiative.
“That was a crucial general election, with Donald Trump on the ticket, with Bruce Rauner trying to distance himself from Donald Trump and not being willing to really condemn him, and that effort that I was leading was crucial in telling the truth about Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner,” Biss said. “It was the unified effort of Democratic Party entities from across the state, and I’m proud of having done it.”
Biss worked to frame himself as a candidate both loyal to the party and critical of some of its elements, including Madigan.
“There is no question that I’m going to work with any Democrat to win the general election to defeat Bruce Rauner," he said. "But I also think that throughout this period of time we have to fight to reform the Democratic Party, as I have done throughout my career, as I’m going to continue doing throughout my career.”
The GOP argued that Biss supported Madigan’s continued tenure as speaker of the House in his first vote as a state representative in 2011. Since then, he has supported Madigan’s legislative district maps, dropped out of the running for Illinois comptroller in favor of a Madigan-approved candidate and approved Madigan’s May 2016 budget, which included a $7 billion deficit.
"Daniel Biss' actions don't match his hollow words,” the GOP release said. “Public records reveal that Biss is loyal to Madigan's Chicago Machine, taking Madigan money, voting for his unbalanced budgets, backing him for Speaker, and even running his super PAC. Daniel Biss is just another unprincipled career politician who would sell out to Madigan as Governor."