Under the Dome

The man who (could) matter (someday)

Walter DaltonHere's a takeaway from Illinois: Lieutenant governors matter.


As Gov. Rod Blagojevich faces corruption charges and possible impeachment, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn stands to become the chief executive of the Land of Lincoln.

To the east, former New York Lt. Gov. David Paterson now heads the Empire State. In Arizona, Secretary of State Jan Brewer may replace Gov. Janet Napolitano, who has been nominated for U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. (The state has no lieutenant governor.)

In Arkansas, Bill Clinton's election as president bumped up Lt. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, whose later conviction made Lt. Gov. Mike Huckabee governor.

In North Carolina, the lieutenant governor's office has little power. It has the smallest budget of any Council of State or Cabinet office, the smallest staff and the fewest responsibilities.

With the blessing of Gov. Mike Easley and Senate leader Marc Basnight, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue built up a decent portfolio on military and health issues, but none of those perks came with the office. Her only vote was to break a tie on the state lottery.

In recent years, the office has been seen as a placeholder for a future gubernatorial run, although until Perdue that hadn't been a very good strategy.

But history has a way of following its own path, and sometimes the No. 2 — soon-to-be Walter Dalton — becomes a very important person overnight.


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Re: The man who (could) matter (someday)

Foreshadowing the future perils of the next governor perhaps? hmmm...

WHO will be the NEXT NC democrat to land in the slammer? any bets?

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