Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Ward Room's Running Mate Suggestions

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The problem with choosing a lieutenant governor is that no one who is qualified to take over as governor wants the job. But thanks to Scott Lee Cohen, the pawnbroker who won the Democratic nomination in 2010, and was forced off the ticket after it was discovered he frequented massage parlors, candidates for governor now have to choose their own running mates. The Tribune has an article about what each candidate says he’s looking for. Based on that, we’re offering ideas for running mates.

PAT QUINN:

“Quinn enters the 2014 contest facing distrust among Downstate voters, and women remain a potent political factor. Quinn still has support in the African-American community, making race a potential consideration.”

 
Quinn needs a black, Downstate woman. There’s only one available: state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria. Gordon-Booth represents the district Aaron Schock abandoned to run for Congress, so she can appeal to Republican voters. And she’s only 32, so the kids will love her. State Sen. James Clayborne of Belleville is also interested in the job, but he's not a woman.
 
BILL DALEY: Daley acknowledged the traditional political considerations of geography, gender and race that go into the decision. But he said he also wants someone with a certain skill set because his lieutenant governor may end up with the task of reviewing a "reorganization of state government" to make it operate more cost-efficiently.
 
Ideally, Daley could choose country singer Gretchen Wilson of Pocahontas, known for her 2004 hit “Redneck Woman.” She’d balance out his maleness, his Chicagoness, and his disdain for guns. If he’s looking in the business world, Playboy executive Christie Hefner might be a good choice, but she also got her job through her dad, so there would be too much nepotism on that ticket. As an outsider to Springfield, Daley needs someone who knows the capital. Former state Rep. David Miller, who ran and lost for treasurer in 2010, is a suburban African-American who could use a boost back into politics. Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely could complement Daley’s financial experience.

DAN RUTHERFORD: "I'm not interested in an exact replica of me," said Rutherford, who added that he is interested in diversity and the unique abilities a candidate can bring to the ticket. Still, the treasurer said, there must be a "comfort zone" that exists between him and a running mate.

Since Rutherford is a moderate Downstate Republican, a moderate suburban woman is the obvious choice. He might consider Cook County Board member Liz Gorman of Orland Park. She’s from a county the Republicans need to break into, and she knows how to work with Democrats. And women from the Chicago suburbs decide Illinois elections.

 
BILL BRADY: "If I picked my male white neighbor, it might not be best balance."
 
Brady also needs a suburban woman, then. But a really conservative one, to satisfy his Tea Party followers. His best choice is state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton. Earlier this year, Ives called gay marriage “a completely disordered relationship.” Her pairing with Brady would be a completely ordered political marriage.
 
KIRK DILLARD: "Sure, it comes down to the standard kind of things," Dillard said, "but compatibility on a personal basis is also very important."
 
Here’s Dillard’s problem. He lost the 2010 Republican primary because Bill Brady swept the Downstate vote. But in the general election, he’ll win Downstate easily. The Chicago suburbs will be his concern. Getting Brady’s brother, state Rep. Dan Brady, to run with him would be a killer move. More realistically, state Sen. Darin LaHood of Peoria could lend a famous family name to Dillard’s campaign. If Dillard can talk former Miss America Erika Harold out of running for Congress, he's have a ticket that looks like a five o'clock news team.

BRUCE RAUNER: "The most important factor is compatibility with Bruce, especially in terms of sharing his commitment of shaking up Springfield and not being afraid of taking on the union bosses," Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. 

So just choose Tyrone Fahner of the Civic Committee of the Commerical Club of Chicago. He was attorney general, so he knows Springfield, and he’d make the ticket a union-bustin’ duo.

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