IUS, the public radio station at the University of Illinois-Springfield (formerly known as Sangamon State), tried Tuesday to get Gov. Pat Quinn to talk about the fact that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is now interested in his job. Quinn, who was attending a school safety summit in the capital, wouldn’t bite.
“Well, I’m not really doing politics right now,” the governor said. “I think it’s better to do policy. Today we talked about school safety. That’s — a couple million children in Illinois go to school, and I think it’s important for a governor to focus on that. There’ll be plenty of time for politics later on.”
Even though Quinn is trying to ignore Madigan, the 2014 primary is only 14 months away, and the campaign has begun. There’s an old saying in politics that AG doesn’t just stand for attorney general, it also stands for aspiring governor. That’s certainly the case in Illinois. If Madigan runs, she’ll be the fourth consecutive attorney general to seek the governorship. Here’s how her predecessors fared.
Neil Hartigan: won the Democratic nomination for governor in 1990; lost to Jim Edgar.
Roland Burris: lost Democratic primaries for governor in 1998 and 2002.
Jim Ryan: won the Republican nomination for governor in 2002; lost to Rod Blagojevich.
In fact, no Illinois attorney general has ever gone on to serve as governor, although Ninian Edwards, who served in 1834 and 1835, was the son of a governor, and Otto Kerner Sr. (1933-38) was the father of a governor.