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Quinn Picks Paul Vallas as Running Mate

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Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday announced Paul Vallas, the former chief of Chicago Public Schools, as his running mate in the 2014 governor's race.

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Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday announced Paul Vallas, former chief of Chicago Public Schools, as his running mate in the 2014 governor's race.

Vallas ran for governor in 2002 and narrowly lost to Rod Blagojevich. He now serves as the superintendent for Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut and apparently is seeking a new job.

In a statement Quinn called Vallas "a longtime reformer and nationally renowned fiscal and education expert," signaling a education tent pole in Quinn's campaign.

“I’ve known Paul Vallas for 30 years and he’s never been shy about fighting for education, reform and opportunities for working people,” Quinn said in a statement. “Paul is an independent problem solver with a proven record of reform. He will be a strong Lt. Governor for the common good.”

“I am honored to join forces with the strongest reform governor in the country,” Vallas said. “Since taking the oath of office, Governor Pat Quinn has rescued the state of Illinois from the verge of fiscal and ethical disaster following decades of bipartisan corruption."

Quinn lagged behind his opponents in choosing a lieutenant governor for the 2014 governor's race after Sheila Simon dumped him earlier this year.

Some political sources said Quinn was going to ask Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neeley.

"Obviously I was hearing the same rumors as all of you," she said in a statment. "I was flattered and honored to be even considered for statewide office. I assure you that my focus remains squarely on serving the citizens of Chicago and solving our financial challenges."

Bruce Rauner already announced Wheaton City Councilwoman Evelyn Sanguinetti as his pick, and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford went with attorney Steve Kim.

Sen. Bill Brady chose former Long Grove Village President Maria Rodriguez, and Sen. Kirk Dillard picked Rep. Jil Tracy.

This is the first year the General Assembly required Illinois' gubernatorial candidates to run with their lieutenant governor picks. The rule was changed after the 2010 lieutenant governor disaster, in which Scott Lee Cohen won the nomination, then was pushed off the ticket.

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