(WEEK) - U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, a Bradley University graduate, is the new leader of the Illinois Democratic Party, but she was not Gov. JB Pritzker's choice to replace long-time Chairman Mike Madigan.
Pritzker, Madigan, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and former Illinois Senate President John Cullerton all favored Chicago Alderman Michelle Harris to lead the party.
However, Kelly won with 52% of the votes from members of the Democratic State Central Committee. Harris got 48% of the vote.
Madigan led state Democrats for 23 years.
Kelly will be multi-tasking, serving in Congress and guiding the party beyond Madigan's control.
Kelly will serve as state chair through the 2022 election.
Her website says Kelly earned her B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in counseling from Bradley. Kelly later received a Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University.
Kelly and her family live in Matteson.