ALPHA, Ill.--Illinois State Party chairman Michael Madigan--the state House Speaker--on Wednesday skipped the Democrat's big day at the State Fair in Springfield and President Obama's trip to two western Illinois towns.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, after attending the "Governors Day" at the fair--a day used to rally Democrats statewide-- flew a state aircraft to Galesburg and motored to the County Corner farm market and pumpkin patch in this tiny town. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) accompanied Quinn.
Madigan is an unusual Democratic party chairman in that he is massively disinterested in any kind of party building or taking part in wider Democratic National Committee activities.
Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney filed this report about Dem Day at the fair:
The day's political events also were overshadowed by the appearance of President Barack Obama about two hours away from Springfield. They took place despite a prominent absentee, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).
Madigan, normally a fixture at the Democratic events at the State Fair, opted uncharacteristically to skip the rally and the Obama event in order to "spend some time with members of his family out of state," Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Brown would not divulge the whereabouts of the party boss or answer anything beyond the stock statement he provided involving Madigan's apparent summer vacation.
That left Quinn as the highest-ranking state Democrat at the event, where he touted his record as governor, praised Obama and got his licks in on the evolving GOP presidential field.