Why the longest-serving speaker in the country just admitted defeat

On Monday morning, Illinois State House Speaker Mike Madigan made a stunning announcement: He would no longer try to get the 60 votes he needs to be elected to the post he has held almost continually since he first won it in 1983. Madigan represents one of the last vestiges of the old party boss system — a man not terribly well-known outside of the city of Chicago but someone who, arguably, wields more influence than any other single figure in this massive Midwestern state.

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