Democrat Family Matters
What's in a name?
A whole lot, apparently, if you're an Illinois democrat.
The party's 38-member central committee voted by an overwhelming margin Saturday to nominate Sheila Simon to be Governor Pat Quinn's running mate in the November general election.
Simon was the personal choice of Quinn, who looked beyond state representative Art Turner, the runnerup behind the resigned Scott Lee Cohen in the February primary. Not only did Turner spend money and months campaigning for the nomination, he also has 28 years of legislative experience in state government that was discounted when the party bosses appointed Simon. Her resume lists "Carbondale City Council Member" as the highest office she's ever held.
But wow, the 49 year old S.I.U Law Professor is the daughter of an Illinois Democratic Party icon, the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon who also served as the state's Lt. Governor from 1969 to 1973. She admitted her last name provided an advantage over Turner and other applicants.
"The famous name gets my foot in the door but that's only the start. That's not the end of it", said Simon.
Illinois democrats are notorius for promoting the political careers of their own children and the offspring of fellow politicians. Daley, Madigan, Stroger, Mell, Berrios, Zalewski, Lipinski, Jones (as in Emil) are some of the family names that precede Simon on the party's even longer list of political "estates". For some reason, Illinois republicans don't play the "name game" as often and they certainly don't play it nearly as well.
But please, understand that loser Art Turner is not an entirely sympathetic character in all this.
When he decided to run for lieutenant governor, Turner backed his son Art Turner, Jr.'s successful Democratic Primary campaign to replace his father in the legislature. Of course, the son blew away the other candidates who were not named Art Turner.
Sorry, Pop. In the name game...
...what goes around, comes around.