Republican McAuliffe resigns as state rep; Dems expected target seat in 2020
by BRIAN NADIG
Republican Michael McAuliffe has resigned as representative of the 20th Illinois House District, a seat that he held for 23 years.
McAuliffe succeeded his father Roger, who served in the Illinois General Assembly from 1973 to 1996 and died at the age of 57 in a boating accident.
"There’d been a McAuliffe in the Illinois legislature since January of 1973," said the 55-year-old Michael McAuliffe, whose resignation was effective Monday, June 17.
McAuliffe said that the 200-mile trek to Springfield kept him away from his family and that his resignation means that he will no longer have to miss some of their milestones. "It was hard on them (ages 7 and 9)," he said. "I’m gone from them four, five days at a time."
McAuliffe said that he does not have a job lined up and plans to stay busy helping to coach his children’s teams and driving them around. "I just picked up my son from hockey practice," he said.
In a statement, McAuliffe said that he was honored to be able to represent his constituent for 23 years.
"While I never set out to spend 13 terms in Springfield, I felt a higher calling for public service and responsibility to my community. I’ve worked extremely hard to represent my constituents and bring their minds and hearts with me on every 200-mile drive to Springfield, but I’ve decided it’s time to yield to an even higher calling, my family. While this decision did not come easy, I’ve offered my resignation as state Representative of the 20th District effective today (June 17)."
McAuliffe said that his proudest accomplishments include advocating for more accessible breast cancer screenings, raising awareness for Hepatitis C and supporting efforts to improve life-saving disease screenings for newborns.
McAuliffe will remain active in Chicago area politics, as he said that he would run for re-election in 2020 as the 41st Ward Republican committeeman.
As committeeman, McAuliffe will have a say in choosing his successor, who will finish out the remaining 18 months of McAuliffe’s term. The area’s Republican committeemen will be meeting in the next 30 days to choose a replacement.
The selection process involves a weighted voted based on the number of voters in the previous Republican primary in each committeeman’s ward or township. While McAuliffe does not have a majority of the weighted vote, he has the largest percentage and presumably the most input in the selection.
For decades, McAuliffe and his father were re-elected despite being Republicans in the heavily Democratic Chicago.
Some political observers view the 20th District, which includes several suburbs, as Democratic-leaning given that Hillary Clinton received about 56 percent of the presidential vote there in 2016, and they expect that the Democratic Party will be targeting the district for takeover in 2020.
Meanwhile, a similar process among Democratic committeemen is being held to choose a replacement for state Senator John Mulroe (D-10), who is giving up his seat to become a Cook County judge.