ILLINOIS (WAND) - An Illinois lawmaker in the running to replace Mike Madigan as House speaker is ahead in an unofficial caucus tally reported Tuesday night.
The Illinois House Democrats said on social media that Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch had 50 votes in the House Democratic Caucus room after a first round vote held late Tuesday to 15 votes for Rep. Jay Hoffman. Eight lawmakers, including Madigan, voted present.
The vote will not be official until Wednesday, and Welch needs 60 votes to be elected as speaker.
Welch obtained the endorsement of the Legislative Black Caucus in the Illinois House and became a frontrunner for the role. He said in a Tuesday statement he was "honored to be called upon" by caucus colleagues.
"This historic moment in Illinois and across the country calls for new representation and unity of democratic beliefs," Welch said. "I want to thank Speaker Madigan for his leadership - it has been a challenging year for us all but I am grateful for his commitment to serving the public."
This comes after Madigan suspended his campaign for House Speaker after falling short of the needed 60 votes in a Sunday closed door House Democratic Caucus meeting with 51. He's held that position for every year but two since 1983 and is the longest serving statehouse speaker in the history of the United States.
Madigan was under fire for his alleged role in a Commonwealth Edison bribery scheme, which has seen four people indicted on charges, including former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former executive John Hooker, lobbyist Jay Doherty and former Quincy lawmaker and lobbyist Mike McClain. McClain has been a confidant of Madigan.
State Rep. Sue Scherer said Tuesday she will not vote for Madigan as House Speaker on Wednesday.