Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan claimed her widely expected victory Tuesday night, saying she was “very thankful and very proud to be given another opportunity to serve.”
“I am proud of this work and the work that I’ve done to bring more jobs to our state,” she said to a crowded room of cheering supporters.
It was the third win for Madigan, 44, who was the state’s first female attorney general when she won in 2002. The Chicago Tribune reported that Madigan won with 69 percent of the vote against 21 percent for her Republican opponent, Steve Kim.
“Knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of so many people every day is why I entered public service in the first place,” Madigan said. “I chose a career in public service because I wanted to be in a position to help others. But help is a two-way street, and I appreciate your help.”
Madigan interrupted her victory speech to hug her husband, Pat. “Without Pat, I would not be standing here tonight,” she said.
Madigan’s oldest daughter, Rebecca, danced around on the stage, drawing many laughs from the crowd.
Madigan had no legitimate challengers in the 2010 election. Kim, the strongest among Madigan’s opponents, trailed Madigan by 48 points in the last pre-election poll.
In fact, the strongest criticism that Madigan faced during this election cycle was that she chose not to run in either the gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race.
Madigan first won in 2002 when she beat her Republican challenger, Joe Birkett, by a 3 percent margin. She ran again in 2006, winning in a landslide decision and pummeling Republican Stewart Umholtz by a 47 percent margin. Prior to serving as attorney general, Madigan served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003, representing the 17th district.
Madigan’s father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, has served in the Illinois House of Representatives for 39 years. Her father’s personality and reputation, and, more importantly, accusations about alleged corruption and wrongdoing, have long shadowed his daughter.
During Madigan’s 2002 campaign for attorney general, she was repeatedly forced to answer questions regarding her father. Her opponents also insinuated that her father had used his political clout to assist her campaign.
Madigan has since become known as a rising star in Illinois politics and was listed by Politico.com as one of the five most likely successors to President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. Then she announced last year that she would not run for the seat. She was also listed in a 2008 New York Times article that included her in a list of potential female presidential nominees.
Madigan, a wife and mother of two, said when she made her decision not to run for governor or senator that she felt it was in the best interest of her family and the state for her to continue doing her job as attorney general. She said the constant travel from Illinois to Washington that a senatorial job would require would be detrimental to her family.