Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

February 14, 2013

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon won't seek re-election

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CHICAGO (AP) — Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon made it crystal clear Wednesday that her political future won't include re-election next year, but she was more mysterious about what office she might seek instead, playing up her legal and fiscal background.

The potential nod at Illinois' attorney general, comptroller or treasurer comes as the 2014 governor's race is heating up and some of those officeholders are mulling a challenge against Gov. Pat Quinn. Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Wednesday she still hasn't decided.

Simon, 51, repeatedly declined to give details about her political future during a three-minute news conference, instead touting her law-related background and accomplishments: Pro bono lawyer, prosecutor and fiscally-prudent lieutenant governor among them. The Carbondale Democrat said she'd make an announcement in the coming months and was keeping her options open.

"I have always been an advocate for Illinois," she said. "I anticipate that I will be in public service running for office."

Political experts said the move points toward a possible run for attorney general, comptroller or treasurer, all of which are seen as stepping stones to higher office in Illinois, unlike lieutenant governor. But Simon's choice of which office to run for would depend on how the gubernatorial race shapes up.

"The fulcrum is Lisa Madigan," said longtime political strategist Don Rose. "It all depends on her."

Challenging Madigan would be unwise, he said. Madigan is a popular three-term Democrat who's been in the national spotlight for advocacy on fair housing and the banking industry. Also, her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, is head of the state's Democratic Party.

However, if she steps down to run for governor, the number of candidates running to replace her is expected to be large.

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