By Jamey Dunn
Republican state Sen. Bill Brady officially tapped a suburbanite with a conservative pedigree as his running mate in the governor's race this afternoon.
Brady’s choice, Maria Rodriguez, served two terms as mayor of the village of Long Grove in Lake County. She made her debut as a lieutenant governor candidate at an event with Brady today in Chicago. “Maria will bring a fresh perspective, a new ethic and a new energy to Springfield,” Brady said in Chicago.
Rodriguez ran for the U.S. House in 2010 but was beaten in the Republican primary by Joe Walsh, who went on to win the seat. Walsh lost his 2012 bid for the House to Democrat Tammy Duckworth. Rodriguez went on to be the executive director for former Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski’s watchdog organization, For the Good of Illinois. Andrzejewski was one of several candidates that Brady defeated in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. Hinsdale Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard, who is also running for governor, lost to Brady by fewer than 200 votes in 2010. Brady went on to a narrow loss to Gov. Pat Quinn in the general election.
“We have the infrastructure, the resources and, most of all, that Midwestern heart and work ethic to become a magnet state for business and commerce,” Rodriguez told reporters. “What we don't have is leadership.”
This is the first race under a new law that requires governor hopefuls and lieutenant governor candidates to run together in the primary election. Dillard picked Quincy Republican Rep. Jil Tracy. Treasurer Dan Rutherford, from Chenoa, chose former Republican attorney general candidate Steve Kim, who is from Northbrook. Quinn and Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner have yet to pick their running mates.
In other Republican campaign news, outgoing House Minority Leader Tom Cross plans to formally announce his bid for state treasurer as he travels the state during the next two days to kick off his campaign. Cross will run against Republican DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan. The winner of that primary will face off with Champaign Democratic Sen. Michael Frerichs in the general race.