Coming off a spring session in which all of his top legislative priorities failed, Gov. Pat Quinn finds himself politically vulnerable and facing another trial: fending off the string of potential candidates who want to unseat him in 2014.
Quinn needed a win on some of the major issues he told reporters were atop his priority list: fixing Illinois’ $97 billion pension problem, legalizing same-sex marriage and approving a gun control measure restricting high-capacity ammunition magazines.
But lawmakers adjourned for the session Friday without sending any of those measures to his desk. Political analyst don rose said it’s hard to say whether the Chicago democrat’s approval ratings — already some of the lowest of any governor in the country — can sink any further as a result.
But even if voters don’t blame Quinn for the legislature’s failure to act, it was a missed opportunity. Quinn’s would-be replacements began lining up Sunday, as Republican State Treasurer Dan Rutherford officially launched his campaign.
Republican state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner also have expressed interest. Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan also have said they are considering challenging Quinn in a democratic primary.
Several of the potential candidates have indicated they were waiting for the session to end before getting into the race, so they could see what achievements Quinn might have to tout on the campaign trail. But the democrat-controlled legislature didn’t give him much to brag about.