By Roseanne Tellez

(CBS) – The Democratic front-runner in the race for Illinois governor has selected a running mate.

Representative Juliana Stratton would be the first African American chosen by a major party for this slot. As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, she’s considered a strong choice.

J.B. Pritzker called it one of the most important and easiest decisions of the campaign.

“Juliana engenders respect and admiration as a tireless advocate for those who’ve been left out and those who have been left behind,” Pritzker said.

Stratton said the biggest obstacle to solving the state’s problems is incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican.

“One of the things I’ve done for most of my career is bring people who’ve been in different stages of conflict together,” Stratton says.

Strattons tenure as an elected official is short. She unseated Democratic incumbent Ken Dunkin, just last year. He had Rauner’s backing; she had the nod from then-President Barack Obama.

Stratton quickly emerged as a strong voice against the type of law Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson supports – to crack down on repeat gun offenders.

Pritzker says they share the goal of criminal justice reform and much more.

“We really share the same issue set and lots in common. I feel good about the partnership,” he says.

Pritzker is the first candidate – in a crowded field of Democrats — to name a running mate.

Others hoping to unseat Rauner in 2018: businessman Chris Kennedy; Ald. Ameya Pawar; state Sen. Daniel Biss; state Rep. Scott Drury;  and downstate schools official Bob Daiber.