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Tammy Duckworth To Replace Cohen? Quinn Wants It That Way, Source Says

First Posted: 04/11/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 04:30 PM ET

Duckworth

Does Pat Quinn want Tammy Duckworth to fill the recently vacated Lt. Governor spot? A source told Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed that Duckworth is "at the top of Quinn's original wish list"--but some insiders are saying Duckworth won't leave Washington.

"Sneed hears former Illinois state veterans chief Tammy Duckworth is Gov. Quinn's personal pick as lieutenant governor nominee -- replacing the scandal-ridden Scott Lee Cohen," Sneed wrote in her column Tuesday.

Duckworth lost both of her legs while serving in the Illinois National Guard in Iraq 2004. She ran for Congress in 2006, and though she didn't get the spot--she was chosen last year to be assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs for the Obama administration.

Sneed's source reports that veterans groups "are already petitioning Gov. Quinn for her to fill the role" and Quinn already has a favorable record with veterans.

Meanwhile, the state's Democratic State Central Committee--led by Mike Madigan--is already in the process of finding a Cohen replacement, and it is not clear how big of a role Quinn's preference will play.

Since Cohen stepped down, State Rep. Art Turner, who lost to Cohen in the primary, has been calling on the Committee to secure his selection. If elected, Turner would be the state's first African-American lieutenant governor.

Also, it is not clear whether Duckworth, who is from Hoffman Estates and returns to the area often, would leave her job in Washington to work alongside Quinn, but she is "still digesting the possibility," NBC Chicago reports:

Duckworth -- who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate less than a year ago -- is one of four Assistant Secretaries for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Quinn sees Duckworth "has great potential" according to those close to Duckworth, but those same sources say "chances are slim" she will enter the campaign fray.

Between Cohen filling out his paperwork and the Committee going through their process, Illinois may not see a new lieutenant governor until March 5.

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Filed by Jen Sabella  |