* NBC5 broke the story yesterday afternoon that Tammy Duckworth doesn’t want to be Pat Quinn’s running mate. Here’s her statement…
“While I am honored my name has been mentioned for potential consideration by the Illinois Democratic Central Committee for the Lt. Governor candidate position, I have respectfully requested that my name be removed from consideration,” Duckworth said in a statement.
“I made a commitment to President Obama and our Nation’s Veterans to serve at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and I want to fulfill my promise before returning home.
“Governor Quinn has my full support as he continues to fight hard on behalf of working families across the state.”
Quinn has been floating her name since soon after the primary,
apparently without fully consulting her.
…ADDING… I’m now told that Quinn talked to Duckworth several times and that she expressed interest in the job.
He finally met with her over the weekend and asked her to consider…
Quinn said he met with Duckworth when he was in Washington last weekend for National Governors Association meetings and that she called him [yesterday] morning to say she was staying put.
“I think it was an agonizing decision for her,” Quinn said.
And here comes the deluge…
Some Quinn supporters say a female candidate would help his standing among women voters. A Downstater would help him win votes outside the Chicago area. Republican gubernatorial front-runner state Sen. Bill Brady and his running-mate Jason Plummer are both from Downstate.
The five candidates who lost the Democratic primary election to Cohen, led by State Rep. Art Turner, D-Chicago, are interested. Turner said on WVON Tuesday that he got votes Downstate, so he would be a good choice.
Quinn refused to say if he thought regional balance was important, saying only he is looking for “a person who shares my point of view, who believes in progressive, honest government. We have to use the power of government to help the people of Illinois. The economy is the No. 1 issue.”
He also wants someone committed to veterans’ well-being. Quinn spent his six years as lieutenant governor focusing on veterans — that’s how he met Duckworth. […]
Quinn did not say whether he’s hearing bloggers’ attempts to draft [Paul] Simon’s daughter Sheila, who Quinn named to his state ethics reform commission, as a nominee. Sheila Simon ran and lost for mayor of Carbondale. Another ethics panel member, Democratic U.S. Senate runner-up David Hoffman, has been mentioned as a possible running mate. Downstate Sen. John Sullivan has been touted by, among others, former state Senate President Emil Jones.
Being endorsed by Emil Jones is probably not the thing to highlight on the resume. Jones lost his state central committeeman slot to Jesse Jackson, Jr. this month, so Jones’ backing will work against him there. But Jones loaned a ton of money to Quinn’s campaign, and appears to have the governor’s ear on some matters.
A House committee approved one measure that would push the state’s primary election to mid-March instead of having it in February.
This year’s early election, which was the first in the nation, has been attributed by some lawmakers for low voter turnout.
“I think given the experience of the voters and candidates in the February election that it is a good idea to move it back,” said state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, the bill’s sponsor.
It was approved by a 9-0 vote and now moves to the House floor for a full debate.
The second plan lawmakers approved Tuesday also would shake up campaigns by requiring candidates for governor to pick a lieutenant governor running mate for the primary. Currently, governors and lieutenant governors are nominated separately in the primary, and they run together in the general election.
* House Speaker Michael Madigan is planning to testify this morning at 10:30 in the House Executive Committee (rm. 118) on behalf of his constitutional amendment to ban the office of the lt. governor. You can read HJRCA 50 by clicking here. You can also click here at 10:30 to see if they’re broadcasting the hearing live.
* Illinois primary would return to March under House bill: Republican House leader Tom Cross of Oswego proposed legislation that would move the primary in presidential-election years to March and also shift the primary in nonpresidential years to June. Cross said he still doesn’t think March is late enough but felt the committee’s decision to advance Nekritz’s proposal was a step in the right direction.
* Primary election changes considered: “Who do you think Gov. Blagojevich would have picked? Harris?” asked Rep. Monique Davis, a Chicago Democrat, referring to the former governor’s chief of staff, John Harris, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud. “You’re saying that whoever the governor is would have the right to choose his or her successor.”
* Democrats dispute need for more campaign finance limits: Reform advocates testified in support of the legislation, calling it a necessary next step. Additionally, they said refusing to close the loophole would foster a dangerous dependence on legislative leaders and political party money in general elections. “That exception, I think, makes for not only an incomplete system of campaign finance but a system that discourages the support at the local level from the districts the legislators represent,” said Peter Bensinger, co-chair of CHANGE Illinois.