Cash first, answer later for Madigan

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has both Democrats and Republicans nervous about her future plans.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has made it official: she's running.

"Our state is facing challenging times. Turning around the state of our state will take smart, tough, and effective leadership," Madigan said in a recent fundraising email to supporters.

Unfortunately, Madigan didn't explain what office she'll seek in her effort to turn around the state.

"I strongly believe that government has the power to do good when the right people come together for the right reasons. I am confident that I can continue to produce results on behalf of the people of Illinois, but I need your help to ensure I have the financial resources to do so. Please consider making a contribution of $250, $100, $50 or even $25 ... to ensure that I have the necessary resources to continue to serve our state effectively," she said.

So the guessing game continues — will this heiress to a political legend (her dad is Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan) run for the Democratic Party nomination for governor or for another term as attorney general? Other would-be candidates are waiting breathlessly to see.

Lt. Gov. Shiela Simon, daughter of another famous politico (the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon) has made it clear she's running for the Democratic Party nomination for attorney general if Madigan decides to run for governor. On the GOP side, House Republican Leader Tom Cross has hinted he'll run for attorney general, but only if Madigan steps aside.

Attorney General Madigan studied politics as she sat at her father's knee, and one lesson she has taken to heart is playing her cards close to the vest. Speaker Madigan rarely speaks to reporters, deigning to take questions only at the times and places of his choosing and for reasons known only to him.

She is being similarly coy with respect to her political intentions, to the point that some political handicappers are predicting she won't run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Others are confident she will.

Madigan fed speculation on both sides of the question in her email.

She touted her ability to work with legislators, a major attribute for an effective chief executive.

"I've built strong relationships and reached consensus with members of the Illinois legislature — key leadership skills for a state that has a lot of work to do. Resolving issues in this state requires a willingness to sit down, negotiate and compromise with the General Assembly," she said.

Madigan also tooted her own horn as the state's attorney general.

"As your attorney general, I have been able to successfully advance and impact change on a host of issues," she said.

But here's her bottom line. Send her cash, plenty of it, soon. Madigan will decide how and where to spend it.

"In the weeks and months to come I look forward to pressing on — with your support — and keeping you posted on the results of my work and decision regarding my next steps," Madigan said.

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