It's been more than a decade since an Illinois governor lived full time at the state's Executive Mansion, but once again a Chicago-area candidate's promise to make his home there has revived the question of just how important it is for the state.Quinn, on the other hand, promised voters he'd live in the governor's mansion when he succeeded his two-time running mate Rod Blagojevich.
Wealthy Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, who lives in the upscale Chicago suburb of Winnetka, has emphasized his intention to call Springfield home if he defeats Gov. Pat Quinn in the November election. The Chicago Democrat says he will continue to split his time between the two places after initially vowing to live downstate full time. The candidates confirmed their plans in Associated Press candidate questionnaires.
The last governor to live in the 1855 manor full time was former Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican and former secretary of state from Charleston who was already living in the capital. The last Chicago-area native to live at the mansion consistently was Jim Thompson, who spent considerable time there before moving back to Chicago for his daughter's schooling toward the end of his 14-year tenure.
While the duties of the job have shifted toward Chicago in recent years, the two former governors agree with political experts and many downstate residents that having a governor living in Springfield makes a difference. The state's chief administrator is closer to the state workforce and avoids at least the impression of giving preferential treatment to Chicago and largely-Democratic urban dwellers over the rest of the state.
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