The governor and lieutenant governor tickets for both parties appear to be set for the Nov. 2 election. That is if Gov. Pat Quinn doesn't change his mind again or Democratic state central committeemen stage a revolt. If so, things could really get interesting.
Lake Forest state Sen. Susan Garrett was the front-runner in the lite gov. sweepstakes, but then she went ahead this week and said she really didn't agree with Gov. Waffle's call for a hike in the state income tax. That put the kibosh on her chances and opened the door for Sheila Simon, daughter of the late and well-liked U.S. senator, Paul Simon.
While Quinn is all a twitter about his new running mate, really, what does Ms. Simon bring to the ticket? She's a woman, a downstater who lost in her run in 2007 to become mayor of Carbondale, home of the Southern Illinois University Salukis, where Simon is a law professor. The mother of two also plays the banjo in a band with the appropriate sobriquet for a downstate band, Loose Gravel.
Quinn must be paying attention to those polls which show him trailing Republican opponent state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington so he plucks a downstater to blunt that. Except the battleground in November will be the collar counties, where Garrett would have been a definite asset. Besides, Garrett has played well in the rough-and-tumble politics of Springfield and she's been elected in Republican-leaning Lake County enough times to qualify as a veteran pol.
Meanwhile, Illinois Republicans are licking their chops, hoping through some miracle November begins in two months. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele breezes into Chicago late next month for an "Illinois is Next" party featuring the GOP's entire statewide ticket.
That means the national party figures Illinois is in play to turn from blue to red. The tickets have been punched and the ride may be hairy over the next months.