Quinn's Top Lt. Gov. Pick Likely Suburban Senator

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Illinois Sen. Susan Garrett, D-Highwood, argues ethics legislation while on the Senate floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

    And now Quinn wants Garrett.

    State Senator Susan Garrett has emerged as a top choice to be Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate and met with Quinn privately this past week, according to two separate reports.

    Garrett is reportedly interested in the office because it would provide more opportunities than her legislative position to initiate reforms.

    "It's no slam dunk," Garrett said outside her Highwood office to NBC 5, "but I will put my name in for consideration. I'm an independent and strong on womens' issues."

    Garrett, an advocate for women's issues, could possibly buttress Quinn's flagging support among women, reports the Tribune. Quinn's opponent in the general election, Bill Brady, opposes abortion rights and expanded health coverage for women.

    But Garrett and Quinn do differ on at least one important issue: taxes.

    Garrett voted no to a hike last year, meaning the governor will have to convince her to come around to his point of view.

    Garrett spent two terms in the House before unseating GOP incumbent Kathleen Parker in the Senate in 2003.

    The reports about Garrett emerge just a day before the Democratic State Central Committee plans to convene to conduct interviews with the 200-plus candidates for Quinn's running mate.  The nominee position has been vacant since Scott Lee Cohen stepped aside.

    Quinn wouldn't discuss selection of a running mate Friday, telling reporters he'll announce his preference next week. But no matter who Quinn wants, the final decision rests with the Democratic Central Committee.

    Members of the Central Committee acknowledge it's a longshot that some political unknown would show up and wow people enough to become the nominee. But they also insist it's possible and they're keeping an open mind.

    "There may be a non-political businessperson or a non-political public activist who could enhance our ticket because it could use a
    fresh voice,'' said Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville.

    Committee members aren't so unified on how they'll decide who gets the nomination.

    Hoffman said he would place great weight on who Quinn wants as his running mate and little on how applicants fared in the Feb. 2
    primary.

    Rep. Constance Howard, however, said Quinn's preference is only one factor. The Chicago Democrat said she supports Rep. Arthur
    Turner, who finished second to Cohen in the primary.

    And what about Garrett?

    "She can put her name in with everybody else's name," Howard said.

    Prior to meeting with Garrett, Quinn had shown interest in veteran Tammy Duckworth.