In Illinois, the office of lieutenant governor hasn't been seen as a stepping stone to the state's highest office, with the recent exception of Quinn.
He inherited the job after ex.-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who last year began serving a 14-year federal prison sentence for political corruption, was impeached and removed from office in 2009. Former Republican Gov. George Ryan — who was recently released from prison for wide-ranging corruption convictions — served as lieutenant governor then secretary of state before he was elected governor in 1998.
The official duties of lieutenant governor are few and state officials have even considered eliminating the office all together. Until 2011, candidates ran on separate tickets from the governor. The change followed the short-lived nomination of pawn shop owner Scott Lee Cohen, who dropped out at the urging of Democratic officials after accusations of domestic abuse, steroid abuse and more went public.
Democratic officials put Simon on the ballot in 2010, even though her campaign experience was limited. She ran unsuccessfully for Carbondale's mayor.
Since she took office as lieutenant governor, Simon has made education among her top issues and visited each of the state's 48 community colleges. She also recently focused on gun control, forming a working group on the issue with new lawmakers.