Illinois joint ticket election procedure to debut in 2014

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August 31, 2013

Illinois

By Maresa Strano

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: The 2014 electoral cycle will mark the first time in Illinois history that candidates for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor will run on a single ticket in the primary election phase. Spurred by the 2010 fiasco where the independently elected Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial nominee Scott Lee Cohen had to drop out of the race after being arrested on charges of steroid use and domestic battery, the law was promptly changed with the notion that the introduction of a dependent selection process will create a stronger perception, right off the bat, of the office's partnership with that of the governor. Since the gubernatorial candidates will be hand picking their running mates - most likely starting next week, though a few candidates have stated plans to wait until closer to the December petition filing deadline to make their selection - the hope is that their campaigns will be induced to "better define their priorities for voters and cover more ground as election season gets underway."[1]

On Sept. 3, individuals aiming to qualify for a slot on the March 2014 primary ballot can officially begin gathering signatures.

Of the five candidates who have already declared their intention to oust current embattled incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn next year, most have expressed optimistic views on the new joint ticket process. Republican state Sen. Bill Brady, remarked that, “Two voices are stronger than one.” Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who is leaving his current post as state treasurer behind to seek Illinois' chief executive seat, said he has already decided on a running mate and will go public with the choice in the coming weeks. "My No. 1 priority was would this individual both in reality and perception-wise (among voters) be able to succeed me,” he said.[1]

First term incumbent Lt. Gov Sheila Simon (D) is eligible for re-election, but said earlier this year that she would retire the post at the end of her term. Simon wanted to seek a new office that would allow her to have a "greater impact," and later declared her candidacy to become the next state comptroller.[2][3] Subsequent to Simon's thinly veiled swipe at the office's unsatisfactory "impact" potential was the Illinois House of Representatives' approval, in April, of a proposal seeking to eliminate the position of lieutenant governor altogether by constitutional amendment. In order for the measure to be passed, it must win approval of both the State Senate and Illinois voters. If the proposal is approved in a statewide public vote, the office will remain intact for one final term following the 2014 election.[4]

Quinn said he’s looking for “a people person,” to replace Simon, and anticipates holding off on a decision until later in the fall.[1]

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