UPDATED 11/2/10 6:15 a.m.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Could this Election Day mean the end of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s long run?
Republicans are hoping to take control of the state House of Representatives. They need to win 12 races to grab control of the House.
They also hope to take over in the state Senate, displacing Senate President John Cullerton.
Madigan and Cullerton had a large money advantage over the GOP in the final weeks of the campaign. But Republicans had funds to stay competitive.
GOP leaders say they’re cautiously optimistic about their chances.
Democrats hold large majorities in both the House and Senate that were added to or padded in 2008 on the strength of a presidential victory for native son Barack Obama.
But the state is mired in a $13 billion budget deficit, which adds up to a debt of about $1,007.75 for every man, woman and child in Illinois. That comes after eight years of complete statehouse control by Democrats.
Deputy Illinois House Majority Leader Lou Lang acknowledges there are about a dozen close races that will determine control of the House. But he told WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore that Democratic voters are motivated and will go to the polls.
Lang said he is confident the party will hold onto its majority in Springfield.
Madigan was first elected state House Speaker in 1983, after Democrats won control of the chamber the year before. Since then, he has lost the post for only one term, when Republicans took control of the state House in 1994.
Republican Lee Daniels served as House Speaker for one term, until Democrats took over again in the 1996 election.
Madigan has devoted money and resources trying to avoid a repeat of 1994.
WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore contributed to this report.
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