Friday, March 26, 2010

Berkowitz: Gov Quinn Likely to Pick Shelia Simon as His Running Mate

By Jeff Berkowitz on Chicago Now

Follow on: Governor Quinn has backed away from his first choice for his Lt.Gov. running mate on the Democratic ticket, State Senator Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest). According to senior Democratic operatives, very close to the Democratic State Central Committee, Gov. Quinn was frustrated by Senator Garrett's reluctance to be a team player and come out, whole hog, for his proposed income tax increase. Moreover, there were some additional, minor, Garrett irritants that caused Quinn to go with Sheila Simon, the law school professor from downstate Carbondale.

Quinn's change of heart evolved over the last day or two and he had made the decision by late Thursday afternoon. Quinn realized that Garrett might be the better campaigner. But, ironically, Quinn the maverick couldn't tolerate maverick Garrett for Lt. Gov. He wanted a Lt. Gov. who would march to the same beat as the Governor. He gets that in Sheila Simon, daughter of the Illinois Democratic Party icon, the late former U. S. Senator, Paul Simon.

Senator Simon, a former guest of Public Affairs and always a consummate politician, reminded me before I introduced him on my show that I did not need to tell the viewers, and his former voters, that he had not been born in Illinois. As he said, there are some things the voters and viewers don't need to know.

There is some chance that Gov. Quinn could come up with yet another choice before he makes his announcement today at 2:00 pm at a presser in the Chicago Loop. But, the odds are against such a change. The strong favorite for the pick at this point: Sheila Simon.

And, it is likely that Speaker Madigan will respect that choice, and therefore the rest of the Illinois Democratic Party's State Central Committee will follow the Speaker and ratify Quinn's choice on Saturday. Of course, you will notice I used the word "likely." But, ultimately, when Speaker Mike speaks, others listen and act accordingly. .

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