Democratic Party of Illinois

Democratic Party of Illinois
Chairman Michael Madigan
Senate Leader Senate President John Cullerton
House Leader Speaker of the House Michael Madigan

1201 S. Veterans Pkway
Springfield, IL, 62706

Ideology American Liberalism
National affiliation Democratic Party
Official colors Blue
Seats in the Senate
35 / 59
Seats in the House
64 / 118
Statewide Offices
4 / 6
US Senate (Illinois Seats)
1 / 2
US House (Illinois Seats)
8 / 19
Justices on Court
4 / 7

The Democratic Party of Illinois is a political party and affiliate of the United States Democratic Party in Illinois. It is the oldest still-existing state party in Illinois and, along with the Green and Republican Parties, one of just three legally established parties in the state.



The Democratic Party of Illinois took shape during the late 1830s. Prior to that time, Illinois did not have organized political parties; instead, political competition in the state was more personalist, with prominent factions centered around Governors Ninian Edwards and Shadrach Bond. As the Democratic and Whig Parties began to form at the national level during the late 1820s and 1830s, Illinois politicians began sorting themselves accordingly and, in the summer of 1837, leading Democrats met to lay the groundwork for a Democratic Party organization in the state.

Before 2010, the party had been extremely successful in statewide elections for the past decade. In 1992, Carol Moseley Braun became the first African American woman to be elected to the United States Senate. Her election marked the first time Illinois had elected a woman, and the first time a black person was elected as a Democratic Party candidate to the United States Senate. A second African American Barack Obama Democratic Senator was elected in 2004, and later elected President of the United States in 2008. The party currently holds a majority in both the Illinois Senate and Illinois House of Representatives. The Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, and Illinois' Senior Senator, Dick Durbin are members of this party.

Organization and leadership

The Democratic Party of Illinois is run by a Democratic State Central Committee of 38 members, two from each of the state's 19 congressional districts. The Central Committee has four officers: a chairman, a vice-chair, a secretary, and a treasurer.

Calvin Sutker of Skokie served as state party chairman until 1986 when he lost his committeeman seat to reform Democrat Jeffrey Paul Smith.[1] Sutker was succeeded by Vince Demuzio, who served from 1986–1990 and is credited with rebuilding the Illinois Democratic Party.[2] Demuzio was then defeated by the then-chief of staff for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Gary Lapaille. Madigan himself succeeded Lapaille and is the current Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

See also


  1. ^ Wingert, Pat (1986-03-20). "Stunned Democrats Agonize on LaMess". Chicago Tribune: pp. 3 (Chicagoland, Sec. C). 
  2. ^ Illinois Secretary of State (2005). 2005-2006 Illinois Handbook of Government. pp. 51. 

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