In stunning move, Oswego state rep says she’ll run against Mike Madigan for speaker

“They always say Marines are the first ones in and the last ones to leave, so I guess I’m the first one in,” said Stephanie Kifowit, making reference to her four years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps.

SHARE In stunning move, Oswego state rep says she’ll run against Mike Madigan for speaker
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State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, an Aurora Democrat, shook the state’s political power structure Thursday after she said she’ll challenge Michael Madigan for speaker in January.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times file photo

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, a little known Oswego Democrat serving her fourth term in the House, rocked the Illinois political landscape Thursday by announcing she intends to run against Michael Madigan for speaker in January.

Madigan, the longest serving leader of any state legislative body in the U.S., has been Illinois House Speaker for all but two years since 1983.

Kifowit, 48, said she believes she is the first Democrat to formally oppose Madigan during that time.

“I guess I’m the first. They always say Marines are the first ones in and the last ones to leave, so I guess I’m the first one in,” said Kifowit, making reference to her four years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Kifowit sent a letter to Madigan calling on him to resign in July after he was identified as Public Official A in a federal deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison in which the company admitted to paying $1.3 million on political hires in an effort to win his help in Springfield.

Kifowit would be considered a longshot to defeat Madigan, but simply by announcing her candidacy, she could help deny the speaker the 60 votes from his caucus that he would need to be re-elected.

Kifowit said she has been making calls to her colleagues asking for their support but would not reveal how many commitments she has received.

She said she also believes there could be more candidates seeking the speakership.

“I believe firmly there should be a choice, and now there’s a choice,” she said.

House Democrats hold a 74-44 advantage over Republicans going into the November election, and Madigan is hoping to improve upon that margin.

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