CHAMPAIGN — Illinois House candidate Sam Rosenberg is receiving help in his primary election campaign from the House Democratic organization and Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago.
The arrangement was first reported by the Capitolfax.com web site.
"They have provided a staffer for me. There's nothing more at this point," he said.
But Tuesday night Rosenberg filed an updated campaign disclosure report, showing that he received a $4,500 in-kind contribution from Madigan's Democratic Majority political action committee. The contribution was for printing and postage of a mail piece sent to voters in the 103rd District.
Rosenberg's updated report also showed his campaign got $5,000 from the Illinois State Medical Society, and $1,000 each from Champaign businessman Joe Lamb, the Champaign Firefighters for Good Government and state Rep. John Bradley, a Marion Democrat who is a top lieutenant of Madigan.
Rosenberg's primary election opponent, Urbana City Council member Carol Ammons, said she already had suspected that Madigan was backing Rosenberg in the race in the 103rd House District that includes almost all of Champaign-Urbana.
"We were aware a week or two ago that he was supporting Rosenberg," she said. "It doesn't change anything for me. I'm going to continue to work in the district with people who are going to have to vote for me."
Rosenberg said he was not reluctant to be tied to the longtime power broker of the state Democratic Party and the Illinois House. Madigan has been a member of the House since 1971 and the Speaker for all but two of the last 30 years.
"I've made it abundantly clear to them that I am still going to be opposing them on a variety of issues, most notably the pension reform bill" that passed the Legislature in December, said Rosenberg, and for a progressive income tax.
"That said, I'm receiving support from a variety of Democrats, including the Speaker, and it doesn't change who I am and it doesn't change my perspective on the issues," he said. "The Speaker is just another Democrat who is assisting me."
Ammons said she wasn't angry that Madigan had chosen sides in the primary race.
"In reality, there is nothing that I can do except to run the race that I know how to run and to stand on my record and my experience," she said. "If it takes Mister Madigan getting involved to try to make this person a little more appealing, I guess that's what they think they need to do."
Steve Brown, a spokesman for Madigan, said the Speaker and his organization are siding with Rosenberg over Ammons "because it seems to be the consensus of the knowledgeable Democrats that he is the better" candidate.
Rosenberg has been endorsed by retiring state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, as well as Champaign Mayor Don Gerard and Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing.
Rosenberg said the support from the House Democrats "is something that has come on relatively recently. To be honest, I did not expect the Speaker's involvement in the primary, if only because so many of my viewpoints differ from his and because I'm going to be representing the 103rd District and not representing his interests in Chicago."
Rosenberg, a 29-year-old Champaign attorney, said, "I think there's just a general sentiment that there needs to be more attention paid to central Illinois, and that the focus of this state should not be in the Chicago area, whether it be for funding for the University (of Illinois) or infrastructure. Central Illinois needs a champion who will be standing up to the Chicago interests."