Kelly-Harris

Rep. Robin Kelly (D-2nd, left) and Ald. Michelle Harris (8th)

Two local faces are the frontrunners for the leadership of the Illinois Democratic Party after former state House Speaker Michael Madigan resigned from the role earlier this year.

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-2nd), who represents a portion of East Hyde Park in Washington as well as the Southeast Side, the south suburbs and a stretch of rural Illinois down to Kankakee, touts her congressional district's geographic and social diversity as representative as the entire state's.

She lives in the south suburbs and previously served in the Illinois House. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin endorsed her shortly after she declared her candidacy.

But meanwhile, Southeast Side Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), recently appointed Mayor Lori Lightfoot's second floor leader in City Council, is being characterized as the frontrunner by the Sun-Times, having secured nearly two-thirds of the votes needed for the position.

Incumbent since 2006 and chair of the rules committee, Harris has the backing of Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Duckworth as well as U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st), a longtime associate who gets to vote as a member of the state Democratic committee, gets to cast a vote for the chairmanship.

Each congressional district in Illinois elects male and female state Democratic committeemembers; Harris and Kelly are committeewomen for the 1st and 2nd districts. Former state Rep. Al Riley, committeeman for the 1st District, has not yet announced how he plans to vote.

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