CHICAGO (AP) — The Republican field for the 2014 Illinois governor’s race began to crystalize Monday as candidate Dan Rutherford, the Illinois treasurer, announced a Chicago attorney as his lieutenant governor pick.
Rutherford announced on Twitter that his choice is Steve Kim, a 42-year-old attorney who lives in Northbrook. Kim, who has served as a Northfield township trustee, unsuccessfully challenged Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in 2010.
“He comes from having been on the statewide stage before,” Rutherford told The Associated Press. The Chenoa Republican said his first priority was choosing someone who could succeed him if he wins. Rutherford said he would release more details Thursday at a news conference.
Rutherford became the first among the four Republicans and two Democrats seeking the state’s highest office to announce his running mate.
It’s the first time that candidates for governor will run with their lieutenant governor choices. The change was instituted after 2010 when it was revealed after the primary that the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor — Scott Lee Cohen — had past troubles including domestic battery charge. Cohen dropped out after pressure from Democratic leaders who feared it would hurt Quinn.
Other Republicans are expected to announce their picks soon.
Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale scheduled a statewide fly around with his pick for Tuesday, the first day that candidate petitions can be circulated. Republican Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington has said his choice is also coming soon. The other candidates have said they’re not in a rush to make their choices public. They are Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner of Winnetka and Chicago Democrats, Gov. Pat Quinn and his challenger former White House chief of staff Bill Daley.
Rutherford said he considered Kim’s business experience and his background.
Kim is a managing partner at Rosenberg Kim & Jimenez, Ltd., which does international and trade law and business development law, among other areas. Kim is also Korean American. He immigrated with his family as a young boy and is a U.S. citizen.
Rutherford said Kim has the ability to reach out to Illinois’ diverse residents, particularly the growing Asian population.
“We’re a state where there is a very strong and vital immigrant community,” Kim said, adding that his family’s immigration story was one that would resonate with many groups.
Kim declined to talk specifics on where he stands on issues, like gay marriage, saying that he still formulating his opinions.
He said his focus is improving Illinois’ business climate.
“I understand how to create jobs,” he said. “I strongly believe the climate in Illinois is not right now best suited for jobs and economic growth. We can change that.”
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