SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WJPF) — There’s a new frontrunner for Illinois House Speaker.

What had been a contest dominated by women, now appears all but won for a man – Representative Chris Welch.

If elected to the leadership post, Welch would be the first Black man in Illinois to hold the Speaker’s gavel.

Welch led the special investigative committee looking into possible misconduct by Mike Madigan in the Com-Ed bribery scheme. That committee declined to pursue any disciplinary actions. Mike Madigan denies any wrongdoing.