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Longtime Illinois statehouse leader tested anew

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:27 p.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is no stranger to the challenge of piecing together votes for unpopular legislation while protecting vulnerable members of his Democratic majority.

His success at balancing policy and politics to Democrats' advantage is a big reason he is the longest serving current House speaker in the country by nearly a decade and among the longest serving in U.S. history.

But Madigan's current task of securing 60 Democrats' support for an extension of the state's temporary income tax increase in an election year is proving arduous.

The stakes are high this year with the House Democrats holding a veto-proof supermajority by just one vote. The tax extension is also a priority for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who faces a tough re-election bid against Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.

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