It appears that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will not get a free ride in next February's Democratic primary. All signs indicate that state comptroller Dan Hynes will challenge the governor who trails Hynes in fundraising.
Gov. Pat Quinn held another public event on Friday morning in Palos Hills signing four so-called green bills for a clean environment.
"Do things in a green way, a sustainable way," said Quinn.
Free, positive news coverage is a plus for Quinn who has barely $700,000 in his campaign account compared to comptroller Dan Hynes' $3.5 million.
"I know how to make a dollar go pretty far. I am the only statewide official with a VIP card to Super 8," said Quinn.
The 41-year-old Hynes, the son of former Cook County assessor and state senate president Thomas Hynes, has served most of three terms as comptroller. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004, losing the primary to Barack Obama. His family has deep roots in the party's mainstream that could serve Dan well in the governor's race.
"I do think there is a real longing for leadership in Illinois. People really want to see our government start working again and solving some of these problems that have plagued us for a long time," said Hynes.
"I think most Democrats would support either Hynes or Quinn. They would both be seen as moderates, not flaming liberals or not flaming conservatives," said Dick Simpson UIC political science professor.
On ABC7's Newsviews segment to be aired on Sunday morning, the governor criticized Hynes for not taking a more active role in the state's budget crisis.
"He was a no show in the battle to get Illinois a fair budget and I think people when they vote for government wants them to get in the arena, make tough decisions and stands by them," said Quinn.
A Hynes spokesperson issued a statement on Friday afternoon disputing Quinn's opinion. He then added this zinger: "Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn spent six years in silence watching Rod Blagojevich drive our state into a ditch."
The political experts predict a contested race would cost each candidate in the neighborhood of ten million dollars. That's just the primary.
The last sitting Illinois governor to lose a primary was Democrat Dan Walker in 1976. He was beaten by secretary of state Michael Howlett who lost in the general election to Republican Jim Thompson.