By Dave McKinney
Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief
Scott Lee Cohen's surprise decision to end his pursuit of the lieutenant governor's office has created a vacuum at the top of the Democratic ticket, breathing new life into the losing candidacies of his rivals and an array of others.
Some in the Democratic Party would regard a Pat Quinn-Dan Hynes ticket as a salve that would quickly heal a party that was ripped apart by their contentious primary battle.
But Quinn and the three-term comptroller, who narrowly lost to the governor, would have to put aside their bad blood before such a Democratic dream team might be viable.
A source in the Hynes camp told the Sun-Times the comptroller isn't pursuing the opening but would consider it if asked.
"He'll do whatever he can to help the Democratic Party this fall," the source said.
Second-place finisher Art Turner, a West Side state representative, said Sunday he wants to be a contender. He was House Speaker Michael Madigan's endorsed candidate. Other names kicked around included the four others in the primary: Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago), Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), Rep. Mike Boland (D-East Moline) and electrician Thomas Castillo.
Link said he could offer more regional balance to the ticket and help attract collar county votes.
"I'm not lobbying, I'm not pushing for it, but am I still interested? Yeah," Link said Sunday night.
Former Deputy Treasurer Raja Kirhsnamoorthi, who narrowly lost the primary election for state comptroller, reportedly would be interested in joining the ticket to add ethnic and regional (he was raised in Peoria) balance.
Also discussed was Veterans Affairs official Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Wilmette), who just lost a primary for Congress.
The Democratic State Central Committee will choose Cohen's replacement. The group is to meet March 15 or earlier.