Governor Pat Quinn added an unusual caveat to his search for a new lieutenant governor.
"I think it's important for our lieutenant governor to be someone who loves dogs," Quinn said.
The comment is less strange given a little context. On Saturday, Quinn stopped by McCormick Place for the 109th annual International Dog Show, where he made the remark amid a sea of 60,000 dog lovers and their companions.
And Quinn is trying to gain a little extra mileage out of a debacle that has blown up in the face of his likely opponent, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill Brady.
In 2009, the Illinois legislature passed a bill banning the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for the mass euthanization of dogs. At the time, Sen. Brady voted against the bill. And recently, just days after the Feb. 2 primary that Brady likely won, he introduced a new bill to re-legalize the practice.
Brady took considerable flak over the proposed legislation from the Humane Society and the story garnered a good deal of media coverage. He has since shuffled sponsorship of the bill to his Senate colleague John Jones. Of the bill, Brady told the Quad-City Times, "It's not ready. And the political games were distracting from the discussion."
It's unclear why Brady chose this moment to push such an obviously unpopular piece of legislation. As the Capitol Fax blog notes, roughly twice as many Illinoisans own dogs as voted in the last gubernatorial election.
This fact certainly isn't lost on Pat Quinn, a dog owner himself. Being a friend to dogs, he said, is "a pretty good way to win an election."
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