Quinn was headed in the direction of picking Simon to be the
Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor but had not announced a
final decision, said the person, who did not want to pre-empt Quinn
and would speak only on condition of anonymity.
announce his preferred candidate Friday in Chicago, although the
final decision rests with the Democratic State Central Committee.
Simon is a law professor at Southern Illinois University and
daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon. She is a former member of
the Carbondale City Council and unsuccessful candidate for
Simon said Thursday night that she did not know Quinn's decision.
"I have spoken with the governor several times over the past few
days. I believe I am on a short list, and I'm thrilled to be there,"
she said, adding that she will not be in Chicago for Quinn's
Normally, voters choose the governor's running mate. However,
this year's winner, Scott Lee Cohen, withdrew after allegations of
domestic abuse, steroid use and failure to pay child support,
leaving the Democratic State Central Committee to pick a candidate.
The committee will meet Saturday in Springfield and choose from 17
finalists, including Simon.
Several members of the committee have spoken in favor of state
Rep. Art Turner, a veteran black lawmaker from Chicago who finished
second in the primary election. They say he deserves the spot
because he made the effort to run for lieutenant governor unlike
Simon or state Sen. Susan Garrett, another person Quinn has
considered, and because he could help energize black voters.
But polls and the results of the primary election suggest Quinn
needs help among white women and downstate voters. Simon could help
with both categories.
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As the daughter of a well-liked politician and the member of the
Illinois Reform Commission, Simon also might reinforce Quinn's image
as a reformer and independent-minded politician.
The Republican nominee for governor, state Sen. Bill Brady of
Bloomington, is from downstate, as is his running mate, Jason
Plummer of Edwardsville.
Simon tried to sell herself to Democratic Party leaders with a
nearly six-minute video posted on YouTube in which friends of hers
call her optimistic, compassionate and someone who would bring
geographic balance to the ticket.
"There's a lot to be said for considering someone outside
Chicago. It's pretty easy to see what the other party will make of a
ticket entirely focused on Chicago, and I think somebody from
downstate is important for that consideration," friend John Jackson,
an SIU faculty member and staff member at the Paul Simon Public
Policy Institute, said on the video.
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