Madigan aide on Rauner phone call: Call? What call?
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As Republican Bruce Rauner claimed victory in the governor’s race Tuesday night, he told his supporters he placed “two very important phone calls.”
“I called [House] Speaker [Michael] Madigan. I called [Senate] President [John] Cullerton, and I said to them: ‘This is an opportunity for us to work together.’”
But on Wednesday, spokesmen for Madigan and Cullerton said the Republican governor-elect never spoke to either one of the Democratic legislative leaders.
“There was no call … and no conversation,” Steve Brown, a Madigan spokesman, said by email Wednesday afternoon.
A Cullerton staffer and a Rauner staffer did speak late on election night, but that’s it, said Cullerton spokesman John Patterson.
“Mr. Rauner and Sen. Cullerton have not talked,” Patterson said.
Lance Trover, a Rauner spokesman, said Wednesday by email that Rauner “placed a call with both of them and left a voicemail for the Speaker.”
In the voicemail to Madigan, Trover said, Rauner “said he wants to work with the speaker.”
Trover denied that Rauner left the impression in his victory speech that he actually spoke with the Democratic leaders himself.
“He did not suggest that. He placed a call and left a message,” Trover said.
The kerfuffle might not bode well for the bipartisanship Rauner went on to call for as he declared victory over incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn.
Rauner said voters asked for “divided government” in electing a Republican governor and Democratic Legislature “for the first time in many years.”
“This is an opportunity to work together on a bipartisan basis, to solve the problems, the challenges facing families in Illinois.”
As of Wednesday, it appeared that both Madigan and Cullerton kept their veto-proof majorities in the state House and Senate, which could diminish Rauner’s political muscle.
Contributing: Jon Seidel, Chris Fusco