SPRINGFIELD — Lisa Madigan once might have been considered Bruce Rauner’s chief rival for the governor’s office.
But 18 months after announcing she’d instead run for a fourth term as attorney general, the Democrat greeted Rauner in Springfield Sunday with a great big hug.
It happened at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, one day before Rauner took the oath of office. Madigan and Rauner each had their families in tow.
Madigan later told the Chicago Sun-Times she knows Diana Rauner because of the first lady’s child-advocacy work. But Madigan also said “Bruce has . . . reached out.”
“I’ve met with him,” Madigan explained. “And you know, as I said to him, in this office, I’m the lawyer for the state. So we’re apolitical. We put our blinders on and we do the work.”
That work is now under way. But early in 2013, Madigan teased of her interest in the governor’s office. She said repeatedly she was strongly weighing a run. She ultimately bowed out of the race that summer, saying the state would not be “well served” if she were elected and her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, kept the office in which he wields considerable influence.
Fast forward to 2015, and the relationship between Rauner and Michael Madigan could be key to whether the governor will be able to advance his agenda.
Lisa Madigan said her office has always had good relationships with statewide elected officials — save for former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. She said her office is “committed to making state government work.”
But it’s also possible the attorney general hasn’t given up on her dreams of becoming the state’s first female governor. At Monday’s inaugural, the popular North Side Democrat touted her accomplishments since first taking office.
“Since I first took this oath, I have recovered well over $10 billion for the state,” Lisa Madigan said.
She paused. She looked over her shoulder.
And she nodded to Rauner as the crowd applauded.
Contributing: Tina Sfondeles