Filling out the ticket
Getting elected is often as much about aesthetics and broad appeal as it is about who's the most qualified to serve.
Chicago businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner made it official this week, announcing that he's selected a member of the Wheaton City Council as his lieutenant governor running mate.
Rauner selected Evelyn Sanguinetti, a 42-year-old lawyer and the daughter of Cuban and Ecuadorian immigrants, to run with him in the primary election.
Rauner's choice rounds out the running mate selection process for the four GOP candidates for governor. State Sen. Bill Brady selected Maria Rodriguez, a former mayor of Long Grove. State Sen. Kirk Dillard chose state Rep. Jill Tracy of Quincy. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford picked lawyer Steve Kim, the GOP's unsuccessful candidate for attorney general in 2010.
Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to round out his ticket. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who ran with him in 2010, is running for comptroller. There has been considerable speculation that Quinn would like state Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicagoan, to run with him.
What's obvious about this process is that gubernatorial candidates select a running mate to broaden their appeal to the electorate. The four white male GOP gubernatorial candidates have selected three women, two of whom have Hispanic backgrounds, and a man of Asian ethnicity.
Quinn went with a downstate woman in 2010, and he'll make a similar political choice this time.
The candidates can talk all they want about their running mate's qualifications to be governor. But it's all about winning and positioning the ticket for maximum political appeal.
Given the fact that the lieutenant governor's office is a worthless, do-nothing post, it's too bad legislators haven't taken steps to abolish it. Instead, they passed a law requiring the gubernatorial candidates to run as a team with their choice for lieutenant governor, both in the primary and general election.
That eliminates the possibility that voters will select a political embarrassment in the primary, as the Democrats did in 2010.
The team approach is a step forward. But taxpayers would be better off if the worthless lieutenant governor's post was tossed on the ash heap of history.