CHICAGO – Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill Brady named a former suburban Chicago mayor as his running mate Friday.
Brady, a state senator from Bloomington and 2010 GOP nominee for governor, made the formal announcement about former Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez at an event at the Union League Club in Chicago.
Rodriguez served two terms as mayor and lost in the 14th Congressional District Republican primary in 2010 to Joe Walsh. She has been involved in conservative watchdog group For the Good of Illinois and several Catholic women's groups. As mayor, she considered economic development one of her top accomplishments.
Lake County GOP Chair Bob Cook described Rodriguez as "honest and well known," as well as socially and fiscally conservative. A conservative suburban woman could give Brady a boost in Chicago's collar counties, which tend to vote independent.
Brady, a senator since 2002, has staked out a position as a staunch social conservative. He opposes abortions even in the case of rape and incest and has proposed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. He also has supported a measure to teach creationism in public schools.
In 2010, Brady scored a primary victory over six other GOP candidates, besting fellow state Sen. Kirk Dillard by only 193 votes. Moderate suburban voters were split among Dillard, former GOP Chair Andy McKenna and former attorney general Jim Ryan.
Gov. Pat Quinn defeated Brady that November by less than 1 percent of 3.6 million votes.
Brady is the third of four GOP primary candidates to have announced their selections for lieutenant governor. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa has selected Northbrook Attorney Steve Kim, and Dillard has picked state Rep. Jill Tracy of Quincy. Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner's pick is still outstanding, as is Quinn's on the Democratic side.
This is the first Illinois gubernatorial election where candidates choose their lieutenant governor. The change follows the 2010 primary, when it was revealed that Democratic nominee Scott Lee Cohen had a history that included a domestic battery charge.