WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s team asked Bill Daley to push Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, who is also the chair of the state Democratic Party, to move back the March primary to April, according to a new batch of hacked emails that WikiLeaks released.
Wikileaks has been posting a trove of hacked emails from John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chair.
In Illinois, Clinton’s political goal was to build to a firewall in her native state, always counted as solid Clinton territory. That is, if she were running behind in the primary, Illinois would be there to help bolster her bid.
In 2008, Madigan switched the usual March Illinois primary to February to help Barack Obama defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination — and wasn’t inclined to do it again, even with the inducement of getting 10 percent more delegates.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote to Podesta in November 2014 about getting Daley involved, suggesting the key contacts to get to Madigan were through Tim Mapes, his chief of staff, and Mike McClain, a Springfield lobbyist.
The tone was urgent because the window was closing on Illinois lawmakers to act if the 2016 primary date were to be changed.
“The overall goal is to move the IL primary out of mid March, where they are currently a lifeline to a moderate Republican candidate after the mostly southern Super Tuesday,” the hacked email says. “IL was a key early win for Romney in 12.
“Our preference would be for them to move all the way to May, but if they at least move to April 12 or April 19 they will have the day to themselves and presumably garner a lot of coverage. They will also be influencing a big northeast primary day on April 26.
“They will receive a bonus of 10% extra delegates if they move to April and 20% if they move to May. Mapes has said repeatedly they don’t care about that.
“As we discussed, they don’t really care about being helpful and feel forgotten and neglected by POTUS. The key point is that this is not an Obama ask, but a Hillary ask. And the Clintons won’t forget what their friends have done for them. It would be helpful to feel out what path, if any, we have to get them to yes. This will probably take some pushing.”
As we know, the primary date was never changed, and Clinton, on a closer-than-expected margin, beat Democratic competitor Bernie Sanders.