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No Defeated Democratic Candidate Left Behind?

Gov. Pat Quinn added another losing Democratic congressional candidate to the state payroll.

It's better than getting a six-figure state job and even more luxurious pension for raising our income tax, I guess.

Quinn announced today that he appointed Dr. David Gill, an emergency room doctor from Bloomington, to be an assistant director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The job, which requires Senate confirmation, pays $127,800.

Gill lost his bid last November to represent the 13th Congressional District. It was his fourth failed attempt to win election to Congress.

And the appointment was the fourth in recent years in which Quinn named a losing Democratic candidate for a state job: (*)

• Quinn named Dan Seals in 2011 to be assistant director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, shortly after his third unsuccessful run for the 10th Congressional District.

• Quinn named former Rep. Julie Hamos, who stepped down to run for the 10th District as well but lost to Seals in the primary, to be assistant director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

• Former state Rep. David Miller, a dentist who lost his 2010 bid for comptroller, was hired as oral health chief for the IDPH.

More than a few critics have pointed out Quinn's predilection for appointing unsuccessful Democratic candidates to state jobs.

"The governor tends to put people on the payroll who have lost elections," State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, told me for a February 2012 story. "I don't know that that's a good way to choose who is going to be in the upper echelons of our government."

But he story in which I quoted Franks was about Quinn's annoying predilection for appointing lame-duck lawmakers who voted for the historic 67 percent income tax increase to very cushy state jobs.

That dishonor roll includes:

• Former Rep. Robert Flider, who was confirmed last year to head the Illinois Department of Agriculture. He campaigned against a tax increase, but lost his re-election bid and voted for it.

• Former Rep. Careen Gordon, who is now an attorney for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. She, too, campaigned against the tax increase but voted for it after losing her re-election bid.

Quinn originally nominated her for the Illinois Prisoner Review Board – just days after her vote – but she withdrew after Republicans promised to grill her over the perceived quid pro quo.

• The aforementioned David Miller, who voted for the tax hike and ended up with his state job.

• Former Rep. Michael Smith, who was confirmed last year to a seat on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. The board pays almost six figures, meets once a month and can be attended by telephone.

• Two other lame-duck lawmakers who approved the tax hike – John O'Sullivan and Michael Carberry – subsequently landed Cook County government jobs.

(*) - Quinn in 2011 appointed former Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who unsuccessfully ran for President Obama's old U.S. Senate seat, to the Illinois Community Colleges Board. That seat is unpaid except for expense reimbursement.
Senior Writer Kevin Craver can be reached at kcraver@shawmedia.com.

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