By Dave Dahl
SPRINGFIELD– A deal is apparently together to make State Rep. Chris Welch (pictured) (pictured) (D-Hillside) the next Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.
Welch, a close ally of House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), tallied fifty of the sixty votes necessary to win during a private vote Tuesday. State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) received fifteen. Seven voted Present, and Madigan did not vote. Reports suggest Welch now has enough votes.
The formal vote is during today’s 102nd General Assembly inauguration ceremony, which starts at noon at the Bank of Springfield Center.
Madigan has suspended his campaign for re-election as speaker. State Reps. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) and Ann Williams (D-Chicago) withdrew Tuesday.
After a long night – into early morning – of debating legislation, House Democrats are expected to caucus for the informal election first thing this morning.