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SNEED EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Gov. Pat Quinn to run for state attorney general

Former Gov. Pat Quinn | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file photo

Sneed has learned former Gov. Patrick Quinn is tossing his hat back into the political ring.

He plans to run for Illinois attorney general.

“I want to be the lawyer for the people,” Quinn, 68, told Sneed in an interview Friday.

“And I intend to present my case for a primary bid next Friday to the Democratic Cook County Party,” he said.

“And I will come armed with a poll which indicates I’d make a formidable contender,” he told Sneed.


Quinn claims the statewide phone poll of 1,047 likely Democratic voters conducted this month by Public Policy Polling shows him leading six contenders vying to become the state’s top legal eagle, netting him an overall lead with 28 percent of the vote.

“We need a strong ticket to beat the policies of Trump and Rauner, and I’m hoping for the party’s support, which they have given to me in the past,” he said.

“I have been a zealous advocate for everyday people who live from paycheck to paycheck. And in this age of Trump and his hateful policies, we need someone from Illinois strong enough to take him on and make sure he not only obeys the law but doesn’t break the law,” Quinn said.

“Attorney General Lisa Madigan was a great leader. But I’ve heard from many people since she announced she would not seek re-election encouraging me to run. The poll was commissioned by several of my supporters.

“I have run statewide in the past, for governor and state treasurer, and I believe voters are looking for candidates with plenty of ideas and heart and not afraid to battle big banks and big corporations,” Quinn said.

According to Quinn, the poll included several announced or potential candidates for Illinois attorney general. State Sen. Kwame Raoul came in second with 12 percent, State Rep. Scott Drury with 4 percent, former Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability chief administrator Sharon Fairley with 2 percent, Water Reclamation Board President Mariyana Spyropoulos with 2 percent, Chicago Park District Board President Jesse Ruiz with 5 percent and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering with 3 percent.

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He also claims he led among all racial groups, with Raoul coming in with 23 percent to Quinn’s 25 percent among African-Americans. For Hispanic voters polled, Ruiz came in with 31 percent to Quinn’s 32 percent.

“Amongst white voters, I led with 30 percent” said Quinn.

“The state needs an attorney general who can get laws passed and do what we did with CUB (Citizens Utility Board) . . . ” referring to the consumer advocacy group, which Quinn created.

“It’s time to make the will of the people the law of the land.” he added.

Besides Quinn, Raoul, Drury, Spyropoulos, Ruiz and Rotering, a former federal prosecutor, Renato Mariotti, jumped into the race with an announcement on MSNBC.

Erika Harold, a lawyer and former Miss America, is seeking the Republican nomination.

Quinn took over as governor in January of 2009, less than an hour after Rod Blagojevich was impeached.  The former lieutenant governor won a full term as  governor in 2010 against Republican Bill Brady, but Quinn lost his 2014 re-election bid to Republican Bruce Rauner.

Quinn got 1,681,343 votes, or 46.3 percent, to Rauner’s 1,823,627, or 50.3 percent. Lisa Madigan won re-election that year as attorney general with 2,142,558 (59.5 percent), beating Republican Paul Schimpf, who got 1,360,763 (37.8 percent).