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Steans' Hubby Confronts Madigan In Gay Bar

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Dec 16, 2009 8:00PM

Openly gay State Senate candidate Jim Madigan was in for a surprise last Thursday when Leo Smith, husband of 7th District State Senator Heather Steans, arrived at his campaign fundraiser party at gay bar The Call in Andersonville to show his support sulk in the corner for an hour before drunkenly confronting his wife's rival.

After reminding Madigan that he was Steans' husband, Smith said, "I'm not here to support your event. I know you think you're going to get famous with all your bull----," according to Madigan's recounting of the conversation in a FOX News story. Smith and Madigan reportedly went on to lock horns for 15 minutes on issues including Steans' connections to tainted Blagojevich staffers and the issue of who's being a better advocate to the city's LGBT community before the two were separated by Madigan's staffers.

Of the altercation, Madigan further questioned Stean's tactics and past connections in conversation with the Windy City Times: "This is not what progressive, liberal Democrats do, in terms of how they interact with competition and challenge. This is what old-style, machine, intimidation-type politics is about. I hope this is actually a little revealing to [people]. They feel they're entitled to their seat; this is their approach."

In an email response in the same story, Steans said her husband's cameo at the Madigan fundraiser chivalrous, but admitted it "surely looks stupid": "Leo should not have been at the back of the room of Jim Madigan's event, even if it was in a public place, and had no business talking to Jim at this event."

Madigan has consistently blasted Steans for her connections to the Blago camp - donating more than $200,000 to his campaign, having her seat secured by the controversial former State Senator Carol Ronen and voting against the former governor's recall. She has also come under criticism from the gay community for a strangely-timed introduction of a gay marriage bill accompanied by seemingly little lobbying. The bill has since died.