The list of political corpses that got in the way of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is very long. In the state Quinn is known as the “Mighty Quinn,” after the beautifully written lyrical poem by Bob Dylan and made famous by the British band Manfred Mann.
In a fair warning to Bruce Rauner, “You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn.” The song lyrics continue, “Everybody’s in despair, every girl and boy. But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here, everybody’s gonna jump for joy.”
It is doubtful that Bruce Rauner will be jumping for joy.
The “Mighty Quinn” has a long lists of accomplishments. They include: Abolishment of the death penalty, solving short-term budget shortfalls with a temporary state tax increase, raising ethical standards across a wide variety of platforms, protecting public-sector labor unions, maintaining environmental standards, supporting a minimum wage increase, meaningful pension reform, a $29 billion capital bill for funding Illinois roads, same-sex marriage and an improving economic climate in Illinois.
In addition, Quinn has dealt with three natural disasters in Illinois in the past 15 months. He has visited the sites of the disasters and applied for federal disaster relief funds. Throughout his time as lieutenant governor and as governor, he has paid special attention to members of the military and veterans.
Along the way, others have not jumped for joy at confronting the “Mighty Quinn.” That list includes former Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes, Bill Brady, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former Obama Chief-of-Staff Bill Daley and even Nate Silver, the former New York Times prognosticator of the FiveThirtyEight blog.
Hynes took on a sitting governor in the 2010 Democratic primary, only to lose narrowly to Quinn after Hynes led most of the way in the polling up until the end.
Brady was narrowly defeated by Quinn, but Brady believed up until Election Day that he would be the next governor of Illinois as the polling showed that he was ahead.
Then there was Attorney General Lisa Madigan, daughter of the powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who explored a run against the “Mighty Quinn,” until polls showed that voters balked at voting for a governor whose father is the most powerful person in Illinois politics.
Bill Daley took a shot at Quinn too last year but failed to resonate with voters. Daley exited the race in despair and in a less-than-graceful manner by saying that Quinn couldn’t win and that a Republican would defeat him.
Even Silver, of 2012 presidential election fame, had Quinn for dead — politically speaking. Quinn loves to quote the event, even if his facts are not quite right, the idea is the same: Nate Silver was wrong here.
“The New York Times in the last election, Nate Silver, he’s a rather famous guy now, he predicted I’d lose in the last election. He said I had an 8 percent chance of winning,” Quinn said. “Well, he was wrong, OK? The voters spoke.”
Silver, the statistician who correctly picked the winner in all 50 states in November’s presidential elections, predicted in October 2010 that Republican Bill Brady had a 91 percent chance of swamping Quinn at the polls a month later.
It was Quinn who took the reigns of office after the impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Quinn immediately restored integrity to the office. In other words, he changed the despair of having a corrupt governor and brought integrity back to government. Quinn also attracted attention not only in Illinois, but also across this great land.