Fighting For a Booby Prize

Lt. Gov's office suddenly a hot ticket

Blame it on Pat Quinn: the job formerly known as Lieutenant Governor of Bored Out-of-My-Mindistan is suddenly drawing interest from a wide-range of pols vying for a post once seen as a booby prize.

We can only surmise that Quinn's accidental ascendancy to the governship has given a few folks some new ideas about the least consequential position among state constitutional offices.

Longtime state senate bigwig and Lake County domo Terry Link is now joining a Democratic primary field that already includes state Rep. Art Turner and may include Ald. Sandi Jackson, state Rep. Rickey "Hollywood" Hendon and state Rep. Kevin Joyce, just for starters.

Also already in: ambitious investment banker Justin Oberman, who aborted a brief run for the 5th congressional district seat won by Mike Quigley; Chicago entreprenuer Scott Lee Cohen, and Elmhurst electrician Thomas Castillo. (The Republican field doesn't look to be as crowded but already includes Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole.)

Link is serious about lining up big-time political support; he told the Daily Herald that calls he's made in the last two weeks include pitches to former State Senate President Emil Jones and former U.S. Senator Alan Dixon. (The Waukegan News-Sun adds U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to that list.)

All of this for a job previously held by Corinne Wood.

While it's unlikely even a single candidate is imagining they would be just one more impeachment away from the governor's mansion, the job may look more attractive as a potential political stepping stone this time around because the statewide jobs traditionally seen as launching pads for gubernatorial campaigns - attorney general and secretary of state - are locked down.

"Hollywood" Hendon's outspoken ways and pedigree as an unapologetic Chicago pol makes him an unlikely statewide winner, but Jackson, who just won her first aldermanic race, has already egged on her supporters.

All of this for a job that two recent lieutenant governors actually quit out of boredom.

It was once famously said that the vice president's job wasn't worth a warm bucket of spit. The lieutenant governor's job has never been worth a cold bucket of spit - apparently until now.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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