Christopher Wills, AP, Jan. 10, 2007
The powerful speaker of the Illinois House said Wednesday he wants to help Sen. Barack Obama’s possible presidential bid by moving up the state’s primary, figuring it will give the Democrat an early win.
Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan proposed moving the March 18 Illinois primary to Feb. 5. A long list of states have primaries scheduled that day, but only four states — Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina — would be earlier than Illinois.
“These states are not representative of mainstream America. They’re clearly not as representative of America as Illinois would be,” Madigan said. “But if Barack is a candidate, recent history tells us the selection process may be finished before it reaches the Illinois primary.”
With plenty of Obama fans in the Democratic-controlled Illinois legislature, Madigan’s proposal should have a good chance of passing. Other officials, however, weren’t ready to commit to it immediately.