After the 2010 lieutenant governor disaster, in which pawnbroker/massage enthusiast Scott Lee Cohen won the nomination, then was pushed off the ticket, the General Assembly changed the law to specify that governor and lieutenant governor candidates run as a team in the primaries.
Gov. Pat Quinn will now have to find a new running mate. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon -- Quinn’s handpicked choice to replace Cohen -- won’t be running with him again in 2014.
According to a press release from Simon’s office:
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon has announced that she will explore other opportunities to serve the people of Illinois and not run for reelection to the office of Lieutenant Governor.
“Serving as Lieutenant Governor has given me an opportunity to advocate on important issues that affect our state but it is time for me to do even more,” Simon said. “I want to serve the people of Illinois in a role where I can have an even greater impact.”
Sheila Simon has a long history of public service. Simon began her career working for Land of Lincoln legal assistance, helping working families who could not afford an attorney. As an Assistant States Attorney in Jackson County, Simon prosecuted domestic violence cases. Simon worked with a team at Southern Illinois University to open the University’s domestic violence clinic.
As Lieutenant Governor, Simon has expanded pro-bono services to domestic violence victims, increased access to higher education, and fought for the strongest government transparency legislation in 40 years. Simon informed the Governor of her decision in December.
“My career has been dedicated to advocating for the people of Illinois. I look forward to continuing that service,” said Lieutenant Governor Simon.
It sounds as though Simon wants a more important office, which isn’t surprising. Lieutenant governor is a stepping stone office. As Ward Room has noted, the last eight lieutenant governors have run for either senator or governor -- including Simon’s father, who was lieutenant governor from 1969 to 1973, and ran for both.