A look at GOP lt. gov. candidates

February 1, 2010 4:19:02 AM PST
As we saw with the past administration, it's not unimaginable that one could become governor after being elected second in command. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are running in crowded races. Only one of the Republicans currently works in Springfield. Others are in local government or family businesses. There's even a preacher on the ticket. All say their skill sets are what the state needs in its next lieutenant governor.

Matt Murphy from the northwest suburbs has been in the state senate for three years. He says a spot in the executive office will give him a bigger megaphone for spreading new ideas.

"One-party rule has led to kind of an arrogant leadership that has shunned different ideas, and I've tried to make a priority out of creating jobs, bringing our budget under control and reforming how Springfield works," Murphy said.

Brad Cole is also in government. The mayor of Carbondale says the state needs someone with proven executive leadership.

"I run a government every day. We balance our budget on time every year, and since I've been mayor, we've done that without collecting anything in property tax," Cole said.

Dennis Cook is school board president in Orland Hills. He was first elected seven years ago after District 230 racked up $28 million in construction cost overruns. He says he brings experience with education and budget issues.

"As board president, we have had six consecutive years with a balanced budget with surpluses anywhere from $2.8 to 4 million," Cook said.

Jason Plummer works in his family's business -- a chain of construction supply stores. He also serves as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He wants to end what he calls "monkey business" in Springfield.

"We need to bring transparency to all levels of government. We need leaders who are willing to talk about who they have relationships with, where they get their pay from, they're campaign contributions, where they're family is employed. We need clean, transparent government," said Plummer.

Don Tracy is a business lawyer whose family owns a wholesale food distribution company. He ran a failed campaign for state senate as a Democrat eight years ago but now says he's too conservative for that party. His current goal is to run the whole state.

"I aspire to be governor," Tracy said. "I think that my unique legal and business background gives me the skill set that's going to be needed to deal with the very difficult financial and legal issues that arise when you have an entity like the state of Illinois that's in severe financial distress, but I've never run a statewide campaign before, so I thought it might be a bit presumptuous of me to run my first statewide campaign for governor."

Randy White is also on the Republican ticket. He's a pastor downstate in rural Hamilton. He calls himself a "God candidate." If elected, he says his top priorities would be ending corruption and keeping taxes down.