Ill. Dems search for lt. gov. nominee

March 20, 2010 6:47:36 AM PDT
In the search for a new Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, the Democratic Central Committee is set to hear from applicants this weekend. A choice could come next week.

But ABC7 has learned state senator Susan Garrett may be the governor's front runner.

In the nearly five weeks since primary winner Scott Lee Cohen bowed out, there's been one effort by the Democratic Party to find a replacement nominee, and apparently a separate effort by Governor Pat Quinn to find a running mate.

Governor Quinn downplayed reports that he has another favorite lieutenant governor candidate. He called Garrett a like-minded politician with whom he acknowledged having a recent meeting about the job.

"She's a committed person to jobs, education, the environment, strong voice for clean water. She and I are friends," said Quinn.

Late last month, the governor asked federal veterans administration official Tammy Duckworth to consider becoming his running mate. She said no.

ABC7 has learned the governor has met privately with several other candidates among the 260 people who have signed up for six public hearings to be held at five locations around the state on March 20.

"I'm hoping to speak to the people about our strengths and qualifications," said Raja Krishnamoorthim, (D) lieutenant governor candidate.

Krishnamoorthi--who finished a close second in the Democratic primary for comptroller-- will make his case to be the lieutenant governor nominee at the session Saturday in Hoffman Estates. He says the public hearings will help the party's public image.

"I think that's what we have to do to increase trust in the whole democratic process both big and small d," said Krishnamoorthi.

House speaker Michael Madigan, the Illinois Democratic chairman, approved the plan for public hearings at which small groups of central committee members will hear the testimonies of small groups of applicants at the separate events.

Democratic state senator Willie Delgado--who is not a central committee member--called it a political show.

" Put out something that appeared to be a regular process and at the end of the day they pretty much know already what the script is and who they're going to choose," said Delgado Governor Quinn defended having public hearings to find choose a lieutenant governor candidate. He did not apologize for his parallel effort, including private interviews, to find a running mate.

"I think its healthy for democracy that there be a process where everyone can participate. But ultimately I will let people know who is the best running mate for me in the coming weeks," said Quinn.

After the six hearings Saturday the 38-member state central committee will re-convene on Saturday, March 27 to select a nominee.

DSCC Sub-Committee Hearing Locations

Location 1 - Chicago
Saturday, March 20 - 9:00 a.m.
Hilton Chicago
Waldorf & Marquette Rooms, 3rd Floor
720 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-4400

Location 2 - Bolingbrook
Saturday, March 20 - 9:00 a.m.
Bolingbrook Holiday Inn & Suites
Blue Iris & Amaranth Rooms
205 Remington Boulevard
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
(630) 679-1600

Location 3 - Hoffman Estates
Saturday, March 20 - 9:00 a.m.
NIU Hoffman Estates Meeting & Conference Center
5555 Trillium Boulevard
Hoffman Estates, IL 60192
(847) 645-3000

Location 4 - Schaumburg
Saturday, March 20 ? 9:00 a.m.
Schaumburg Marriott
Schaumburg Ballroom
50 North Martingale Road
Schaumburg, IL 60173
(847) 240-0100

Location 5 - Springfield
Saturday, March 20 ? 1:00 p.m.
Statehouse Inn
Gallery Room
101 East Adams Street
Springfield, IL 62701
(217) 528-5100

Final Consideration - Springfield
Saturday, March 27 - 11:00 a.m.
Inn at 835
Conservatory Room
835 South 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62704-2601
(217) 523-4466