WASHINGTON--Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is the new finance chair of the Democratic Governors Association, I'm told, responsible for raising millions of dollars from across the country to help bankroll upcoming governor contests.
Quinn was tapped for what is his first big national political role by DGA chairman Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. Taking on the finance chair chores means Quinn will travel more around the country to raise Democratic cash.
O'Malley told the Sun-Times he was "very pleased" Quinn "will be the next Finance Chair of the Democratic Governors Association. Gov. Quinn knows what it takes to win close races, last year withstanding an onslaught of negative attacks to win the governorship of Illinois in a tough political environment.
"In his new role as Finance Chair, Gov. Quinn will be representing Democratic governors at events in Illinois and throughout the country, helping to ensure that the DGA has the resources it needs to elect more Democratic governors and fight back against Republican attacks."
DGA Vice-Chair North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said Quinn's "strong record of fighting for working families has earned him the support of Democratic donors, and I have no doubt he will be successful in his new role as Finance Chair. Gov. Quinn knows the importance of successful fundraising and will be a tremendous asset for us as we expand the ranks of Democratic governors."
At one-time seen as reluctant to be involved in major fund-raising, Quinn stepped up to the plate when it came to his battle to win election on his own in 2010, after becoming governor after Rod Blagojevich was impeached in 2009. Quinn raised $23 million in what was a brutal Democratic primary and general election campaign against Illinois State Sen. Bill Brady.
There are four governor contests in 2011: Republicans are governor in Mississippi and Louisiana and Democrats hold the seats in Kentucky and West Virginia.
Quinn has been in Washington since Friday for meetings of the National Governors Association and the DGA. Quinn attended a DGA fund-raiser at Union Station here on Saturday night. Quinn on Tuesday was scheduled to speak to the AFL-CIO's Executive Council