Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lt. Gov.: The fight for Number 2; or, Why would anybody want it that badly?

It’s official now; all the Republican candidates seeking to challenge Gov. Pat Quinn in next year’s election cycle have a running mate.

SIMON: Any regrets?
Not that anybody of any significance thinks that holding the second-in-command position of Illinois state government is worth more than the proverbial “bucket of warm spit.”

THE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES are getting no-names for running mates – people who hope that holding this nothing position for four years could mean they somehow get positioned to run for a real office with significant duties in the future.

Although it is possible to screw up such a situation.

Take the circumstances surrounding our current lieutenant governor – Sheila Simon publicly split from Quinn many months ago, and has said she wants to run a bid for Illinois comptroller.

Which puts her up against incumbent Judy Baar Topinka – a long-time office-holder who’s just different enough from the ideologue Republicans that she can win statewide office even in a Democratic Party-leaning state.

CONSIDERING THAT QUINN is a 99.9999999999 percent shoo-in to win the Democratic nomination for governor (or am I being overly generous in saying that Tio Hardiman has a 0.0000000001 percent chance of winning?), he could have easily kept Simon at his side.

Instead, she’s a likely loser to Topinka – and may well have built up enough ill-will toward her that she will soon be a political has-been!

SANGUINETTI: DuPage powerhouse?
The funny part is that nobody seems to want to be paired up with Quinn – even though he’s a primary election lock for victory and has a very good chance of winning the general election in November 2014 IF he can play himself positively off the nasty negative partisanship that can all too easily tie up the Republican campaigns.

The only stories and tidbits we hear are from the people who don’t want to be Number 2 on the Democratic ticket.

TRACY: Bolstering Dillard?
NOBODY HAS A clue who will be paired up with Quinn.

So long as the Democratic ticket is “Quinn/_____________,” he can’t even start circulating nominating petitions to get his campaign on the ballot.

It also further enhances the notion that this election cycle is about the Republican candidates, and that Quinn is an after-thought – a concept that could undermine the advantages of incumbency that Quinn is counting on to get himself a second full four-year term as governor.

RODRIGUEZ: A step up?
Then again, GOP chaos could be intense enough to overcome that factor. Who’s to say how the voters will feel 13 months from now?

PERHAPS IT IS because Quinn himself is a former lieutenant governor (one of the few who actually got to ascend to the top post) that he’s not all worked up over picking a running mate.

After all, he’s the lieutenant governor who had it become public knowledge that his governor openly ignored him – going more than a full year without speaking to him about anything.

Part of that was just the bizarre behavior of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Although it also shows how the post can be relegated to irrelevance. For her part, Simon has spent her time touring Illinois and visiting community colleges – but even that has to get old.

KIM: The Lt. Gov. top dog?
It may be why Democrats aren’t eager to be a running mate – even if it means being on a winning ticket.

WHICH IS WHY I find it curious to see the field of candidates on the Republican side of the equation; all of whom are eager enough to be a “nothing” politico in hopes that it will mean something someday.

From the newcomer to the group, Wheaton alderman Evelyn Sanguinetti, whom Bruce Rauner picked to help him steal away DuPage County votes from opponent Kirk Dillard, to state Rep. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy (paired with Dillard), former Long Grove village President Maria Rodriguez (paired with William Brady) and Steve Kim (paired with Dan Rutherford).

When Kim comes across as the most experienced just because he ran a token campaign for Illinois attorney general in 2010, you know this is a fringe collection of characters who want to be Number 2.

A post the Dems can’t seem to find anyone to fill.


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