When Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner named Wheaton City Council member Evelyn Sanguinetti as his running mate Tuesday, he became the third hopeful to pick a suburban running mate.
Candidates for governor in the politically diverse state of Illinois agree geography will play a role in the March 18 primary election, and their choices of running mates may be a nod to that.
Sanguinetti is the daughter of an immigrant from Ecuador and refugee from Cuba. She is in her first term on the Wheaton council and worked as an assistant attorney general under Republican Jim Ryan.
"I'm proof that with hard work, a good education and an opportunity anyone from anywhere can make it," Sanguinetti said in a statement.
In previous weeks, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington chose former Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez as his running mate, and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford chose businessman Steve Kim of Northbrook. State Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican eyeing support in his home DuPage County to help him to a victory, picked state Rep. Jil Tracy of Quincy.
Shortly after Rauner's announcement Tuesday, Tracy downplayed Rauner's pick of a DuPage County resident as a move to try to cut into Dillard's advantage there. And she sought to show her team as the most qualified to govern.
"We know the agencies. We know the legislators," Tracy said. "We appreciate the enormity of the job."
Still, Illinois candidates for governor haven't been able to pick their running mates until this election, so it's unclear if voters will make their decisions based on a hopeful's No. 2.
On the national level, presidential candidates might make a big splash with a running mate in hopes of winning their pick's home state. It's not clear that the primary for Illinois governor will play out the same way.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to announce his choice for lieutenant governor. His 2010 pick, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, is running for Illinois treasurer.