CHICAGO - A successor to state Rep. Michael Madigan was chosen Thursday for the second time in four days.
A committee of local Democrats led by Madigan, the former House speaker who resigned his 22nd District Illinois House seat last week after half-a-century, chose community activist Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar.
Guerrero-Cuellar had finished second on Sunday in the process to Edward Guerra Kodatt, the personal choice of Madigan’s. Kodatt was forced to resign three days later because of unspecified "questionable conduct."
The 39-year-old Guerrero-Cuellar, operations manager for a community services nonprofit, was nominated by Chicago 23rd Ward Alderwoman Silvana Tabaras, another of the Democratic activists on the ward committee that chooses the replacement. But on Sunday, Kodatt topped the field of 10 candidates because Madigan controls 56% of the weighted vote on such matters by virtue of the number of votes cast for the 22nd District seat in last fall’s election.
Kodatt, 26, was formerly a constituent services staff member in the business office shared by Madigan and Chicago 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn. His abrupt exit was a major embarrassment at the curtain of Madigan’s career, which sustained a fatal blow last summer when he was implicated in a yearslong bribery scheme involving utility company ComEd. He has not been charged with a crime and denies wrongdoing.
A protege of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley and the old-school Democratic political machine, Madigan was 27 when elected ward committeeman in 1969, served as a delegate to the convention that wrote the 1970 Constitution, and won a House seat in 1971.
He claimed the speaker’s gavel in 1983, ruling the House for 36 of the next 38 years and, adding the last quarter-century as state Democratic Party chairman, redefining the political landscape with a reputation for careful planning, exacting strategy and rigid discipline. But he lost significant support after federal prosecutors announced the ComEd investigation in July and he failed to win a 19th term as speaker in January, giving way to an ally, Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch of Hillside.