By DOUG WILSONHerald-Whig Senior Writer
Illinois state Rep. Jil Tracy says she cannot comment on renewed speculation that she will be announced as Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard's running mate.
The Dillard campaign has scheduled a statewide fly-around Tuesday, with the first stop to be at 8 a.m. in Washington Park in Quincy.
Neither Tracy nor Dillard, a state senator from Hinsdale, would comment Thursday. Wes Bleed, a spokesman for the Dillard campaign, also declined to confirm that a running mate selection has been made.
"We have obviously made nothing official. There are plans for something to be announced soon," Bleed said. "We certainly are glad to see the interest in Kirk Dillard's choice for lieutenant governor, and it certainly shows that Senator Dillard is an important candidate."
Illinois has a new law that requires candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to run as a team. Candidates have not been linked on ballots in the past.
Tracy confirmed to The Herald-Whig last month that she and Dillard had talked about her running as his lieutenant governor. She could not seek re-election to her House seat if she files with the Dillard ticket.
"I would say ‘yes' if I'm asked," Tracy said at the time.
"It would be very exciting to have that kind of opportunity and try to get positive job growth, whether through tort reform or workers compensation reform. We need someone who will listen to employers on how to get jobs or bring manufacturing back."
Dillard also responded in July.
"Jil Tracy is a friend. I know the Tracy family, and she is one of the finest legislators and people I have ever met," he said.
The speculation increased this week when Dillard hinted in public remarks that his choice would be a woman with ties to the southern part of the state and Southern Illinois University. Tracy was born in Carbondale and lived in Anna, and she earned both a bachelor's and a law degree from SIU.
Tracy has served in the Illinois House since 2006. She is on the 10-member committee studying pension reform.
Dillard served as chief of staff to former Gov. Jim Edgar. He has represented the 24th District in the Illinois Senate since 1994. He came in second in the crowded Republican gubernatorial primary in 2010, losing to Sen. Bill Brady by 193 votes.
Dillard got a boost from the Conservative Summit last weekend. The group of about 40 key leaders of pro-family, taxpayer and tea party groups gave him a him a rating of "strongly preferred" after hearing both Dillard and Brady speak at the suburban Chicago conference.
Two other GOP candidates -- Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner -- chose not to address the group.