Here's a takeaway from Illinois: Lieutenant governors matter.
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.)
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.