Opinion: Dan Rutherford Is Running For Governor

It's clear to me: Dan Rutherford is running for governor. He already has his first issue: Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to close prisons in Tamms and Dwight. Quinn made the announcement Tuesday, and Rutherford is already on a statewide tour to protest the plan.

Rutherford’s office issued a press release condemning the prison closings as “a real danger to employees and local communities.” This morning, he told WJBC radio in Bloomington:

“When you close down major facilities like that, what you are doing is putting more people into a system that’s already overcrowded. With that you add, truly I believe, more danger to the inmates themselves and to the staff that work there.”

But the real reason we know he’s running for governor is this. He’s state treasurer. Nobody wants to be state treasurer. The bean-counting job exists as a training wheel office for the governorship of the U.S. Senate. Consider the career paths of the last eight occupants.

  • Adlai Stevenson III, 1967-70: Elected to U.S. Senate in 1970; ran for governor in 1982 and 1986
  • Alan J. Dixon, 1971-77: Elected to U.S. Senate in 1980
  • Jerome Cosentino, 1979-83, 1987-91: Ran for Secretary of State in 1982 and 1990.
  • James Donnewald, 1983-87: Defeated for re-election and retired from politics. An outlier.
  • Pat Quinn, 1991-95: Ran for everything -- Secretary of State, U.S. Senate, Lieutenant Governor and Governor.
  • Judy Baar Topinka, 1995-2007: Ran for governor in 2006.
  • Alexi Giannoulias, 2007-11: Ran for U.S. Senate in 2010.
  • Dan Rutherford, 2011-present: Running 
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