* I told subscribers about this several days ago…
Sources close to the governor say he hopes to find an African-American running mate to shore up his increasingly shrinking base.
* Here’s one of the better analyses of the Sheila Simon announcement…
Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon’s surprise announcement Wednesday that she won’t stand for re-election next year could signal that she’s ready for bigger things, possibly a run at state attorney general.
But it’s a more ominous signal for her boss, Gov. Pat Quinn. After months of fiscal catastrophe and dismal poll numbers, it looks to some in the Illinois political world as if Quinn has been abandoned by a running mate who wants off a sinking ship.
Simon and Quinn, both Democrats, aren’t putting it that way publicly. Others are.
“If he’s really unpopular, and she’s running with him, they go down together. She doesn’t control her destiny,” noted Paul Green, political scientist at Roosevelt University in Chicago. “No one votes (based on) the lieutenant governor.”
* Another good one…
State Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, said he believes there will be a scramble for the attorney general’s post if Madigan decides to challenge Quinn.
“I think you’ll have three, four or more on both sides of the aisle running for that position,” Link said. “So, I mean, is she qualified? Yeah, she’s qualified, but is she the best candidate? Who knows? We’ll see who all puts their hat in the ring.”
* One of the more, um, interesting…
ABC 7 political analyst Laura Washington says Simon’s decision may have come with some assurances.
“It’s in Lisa Madigan’s interest to have Sheila Simon step away from Pat Quinn and move away because it makes Pat Quinn look even weaker and Lisa Madigan a stronger candidate,” Washington said.
“Well I know this: The Madigan’s - Lisa and Mike - don’t do anything that isn’t in their self, political and personal interest so it very well could be some kind of deal,” Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said.
I guess Lisa Madigan could’ve been directly involved here. More likely, though, Simon saw the writing on the wall.
* This has merit…
With Governor Pat Quinn’s approval rating down in the mid 20s, it’s tempting to think Sheila Simon wants off the governor’s coattails.
But Tom Cross, the Republican Leader of the House doesn’t think so, “I read it just as somebody with some ambition. I don’t think anyone thinks the lieutenant governor’s office is a place where you get to do a whole lot or have a big impact on policy. She may also just be a little frustrated and frankly bored!”
* Not credible…
A Quinn aide attributed his poll standing to continued fallout from his role in increasing the state income tax, cutting Medicaid benefits and angering labor with his push to cut pensions, close state facilities and withhold pay raises to government workers.
“Real leadership requires tough decisions and unfortunately, our predecessors may have been able to do easy popular things, but we’re cleaning up quite a mess,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. “Tough decisions aren’t immediately popular, or they wouldn’t be tough.”
But those who serve as lieutenant governor have been known to grow tired of the post, which has few official duties except to fill in should something happen to the governor.
Former Democratic Gov. Dan Walker, Quinn’s political mentor, held the post in such low esteem that he refused to give running mate Neil Hartigan an office in the state Capitol. Hartigan was forced to borrow space from the secretary of state. Hartigan’s successor, Republican Dave O’Neal, grew so bored with the position that he resigned midway through his second term.
Republican Gov. Jim Edgar’s No. 2, Bob Kustra, tried to quit in his first term to become a radio talk show host. But he returned after Edgar underwent emergency heart bypass surgery. He eventually left the post several months before his term ended to become a university president.
A state senator from Champaign says he’s looking at running for statewide office in 2014.
Sen. Mike Frerichs, a Democrat who has served in the General Assembly since 2006, joins a growing list of potential candidates mulling bids for spots on the ballot.
As a former county auditor, it is expected Frerichs is looking at one of the state’s fiscal offices, such as comptroller or treasurer.
“I’m excited to take what I’ve learned from my time as state senator and use it to help the entire state of Illinois,” he noted in a fundraising letter sent to supporters.