-By Warner Todd Huston
The Democrat State Central Committee has chosen Sheila Simon, daughter of former Senator Paul Simon (no not the singer), as its choice to fill the Lt. Governor slot recently vacated by Steve Cohen.
Sheila Simon has no real electoral track record in the state, but success is not a prerequisite to fill the Lt.Gov’s chair, after all. Since the position is practically powerless and useless, anybody could take it when all is said and done.
Chicago Trib reporters Rick Pearson and Ray Long amused me with the first two paragraphs of their piece announcing the choice, though.
Shortly before Sheila Simon lost her bid for Carbondale mayor nearly three years ago, incumbent Republican Brad Cole predicted a defeat could end Simon’s political career.
But state Democratic officials jump-started that career Saturday, ratifying Gov. Pat Quinn’s request to make the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon Quinn’s running mate for the Nov. 2 general election…
If any one thinks becoming Illinois Lt. Gov. is somehow a “jump start” to a political career they are blowing smoke up your… well, they are blowing smoke.
In fact, Pat Quinn is one of the FEW Illinois Lt. Govs. that have ever had any career at all after becoming Lt. Gov. and that took one of the most crooked governors in decades to get hounded out of office first. Shiela’s own father also achieved higher office after his stint as Lt. Gov.
No, if Sheila Simon becomes Lt. Gov. likely it will be the last office she ever holds. And even while holding it she will be of no consequence whatever, at least if modern history is any guide. The office is so unimportant that it has actually stood vacant six times since 1818.
The Democrats themselves are looking to get rid of the office entirely. An effort to eliminate the Lt. Govs position has been proffered by Speaker Madigan and if it passes will take effect in 2015.