Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

How To Work Your Way Up To Governor

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How To Work Your Way Up To Governor

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Yesterday, we warned millionaire Bruce Rauner that he’ll be wasting a lot of money by running for governor. In Illinois, nobody starts at the top, not even wealthy men.

Even Jim Oberweis, who is not known for his political judgment, got that message after failed campaigns for governor, Senate and the House of Representatives. Oberweis is now a state senator, a job well suited to a political neophyte. That’s where Barack Obama got started. But Rauner thinks his money will allow him to skip those lower offices.

As a primer for impatient rich men, here are the career paths followed by Illinois governors of the past 100 years. 

Pat Quinn: Cook County Board of Tax Appeals, state treasurer, lieutenant governor.
Rod Blagojevich: state representative, U.S. representative
George Ryan: Kankakee County Board, state representative, House speaker. lieutenant governor, secretary of state
Jim Edgar: state representative, secretary of state
Jim Thompson: U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois
Daniel Walker: Law clerk to Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, aide to Gov. Adlai Stevenson
Richard Ogilvie: Cook County Sheriff, Cook County Board President
Samuel Shapiro: Kankakee County state’s attorney, state representative, lieutenant governor
Otto Kerner: U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, Cook County Circuit Court judge
William Stratton: U.S. representative, state treasurer
Adlai Stevenson: assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, U.S. delegate to the United Nations
Dwight H. Green: U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois
John H. Stelle: state treasurer, lieutenant governor
Henry Horner: probate judge
Louis L. Emmerson: secretary of state
Len Small: state senator, state treasurer
Frank Lowden: U.S. representative
Edward F. Dunne: mayor of Chicago
 

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