It's a Quinn/Simon Ticket

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sheila Simon, now the candidate for Illinois lieutenant governor -- says her work as a teacher will make her effective in office. Listen to entire speech. (Published Monday, Mar 29, 2010)

    The 38-member Democratic Party State Central Committee meeting in Springfield on Saturday chose Sheila Simon as Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate in the November election.

    And like in the February primary election, State Rep. Art Turner of Chicago came in second.

    "Its a bit overwhelming and thrlling at the same time," Simon said after the vote.

    Quinn, who had announced his preference for the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon a day earlier, said the ticket was "excellent."

    Several committee members and many black legislators, however, wanted Turner to get the job and warned Quinn that he could alienate black voters by rejecting the veteran black lawmaker for someone who didn't even run in the primary.

    "This ain't Little League," Turner said in the three minutes each that he and the other finalists were given to address the state committee before the voting on Saturday.

    Looking at the other lieutenant governors in the room, Turner announced his platform.

    "Neil Hartigan fought for senior citizens, Corrine Wood for rural citizens, Pat Quinn for veterans," he said.  "I'd like to focus my attention on dealing with youth (and) gang violence."

    "Some say my second-place finish is a bad sign," he said in disagreement.  "I do not want to be nominee because I came in second, my home address, or the shade of my skin. I am the most qualified."

    During her time at the podium moments earlier, Simon extended an olive branch to Turner.

    "What a bunch to be associated with -- especially Art Turner," she said with her husband and two teenaged daughters in the audience. She'd earlier remarked that she voted for Turner in the primary election but said "today is a new day."

    Simon said she's not a perfect candidate.  "I've ran once and lost once," she said, but added that she's learned and is "ready to play hardball."

    She emphasized her downstate status as well as being a woman.

    "I think we need a teacher on the ballot," she said.

    Raja Krishnimorthi approached the podium to loud applause.

    Krishnimorthi placed second in the race for Comptroller, behind David Miller, and pointed out that he raised $1.2 million during his campaign. 

    "I respectfully submit Gov. Quinn will need to raise money," he said.

    Krishnimorthi said that he's often asked what his name means, and he said that translated, it means "lieutenant governor of Illinois."

    "There's never been an Asian American (statewide office holder)," he said.  "You'd be making history."

    Other finalists who spoke were Megan Drilling, who called herself a "problem solver," and DuPage County Board member Dirk Enger, who said the he's proud to be the first Democrat to beat a Republican in that county. 

    Absent is State Sen. Susan Garrett.  Garrett was ushered to the first round by the governor's staff a week ago, but clearly doesn't see herself as a contender after Quinn made his preference for Simon known.

    Democrats picked Quinn's running mate because primary winner Scott Lee Cohen quit amid questions about his past.