Friday, March 26, 2010

Quinn wants Simon as running mate

By Jamey Dunn

Gov. Pat Quinn confirmed Shelia Simon as his pick for the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate at a Chicago news conference this afternoon.

Simon, daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, is a law professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and served on the Carbondale City Council, as well as Quinn’s Illinois Reform Commission. She lost a 2007 race for mayor of the city to Brad Cole, who ran for and lost the Republican lieutenant governor nomination in the primary last month.

Quinn said Simon, a longtime friend, would bring geographic balance to the ticket. "I think it’s important to have downstate balance," Quinn said in Chicago today. "It's important to have a downstater."

While Quinn can make suggestions, he has no vote. The Democratic State Central Committee will choose the candidate tomorrow through a weighted voting system. The position has been open since primary winner Scott Lee Cohen stepped aside. Allegations of violence and steroid use in Cohen’s past led him to drop out as the candidate.

Chicago Rep. Art Turner, who came in second in the primary, told reporters today that the he is still in the game. House Democrats held a news conference yesterday in support of Turner, saying he should be the candidate because he was the voters’ next choice after Cohen. Turner has the support of many House members. Democratic Central Committee members Rep. Karen Yarbrough from Maywood and Rep. Constance Howard from Chicago backed Turner at yesterday’s conference.

The State Central Committee is scheduled to choose the candidate tomorrow morning in Springfield. Check back tomorrow for more information.

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