(Cow) Tipping The Governor's Race

Aug 15, 2014

The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Evelyn Sanguinetti, gives a rousing speech at the Illinois State Fair GOP Day. For the first time, gubernatorial candidates chose their running mates.
Credit Hannah Meisel

Politicians are supposed to apologize when they mess up, but typically that doesn't involve saying "I'm sorry" to cows. That's what Governor Pat Quinn says his opponent's running mate needs to do.

Before Republican Bruce Rauner asked her to be his running mate, attorney Evelyn Sanguinetti had made inquiries about getting a job with the state.

Lee Enterprises newspaper reporter Kurt Erickson uncovered that inquiry; which was made via email, to state employee whom Sanguinetti supposedly went to law school with.

Sanguinetti ended the email with a question: "Isn't cow tipping a work requirement in Springfield (LOL)?"

But Springfield residents aren't laughing out loud.

And neither is Gov. Pat Quinn, who says Sanguinetti should apologize, to Springfieldians, and to the cows.

"That isn't the right way to talk about anybody, or any cow in Illinois. They deserve to stand upright. And we're proud of our cows. And Illinois cows are the best there ever was. Okay? (laugh) Alright? (laugh) Yeah. She ought to say she's sorry to a bunch of cows. That might help out."

Though cow-tipping is often meant as an insult -- as in, residents of rural areas have nothing to do for entertainment so they push over sleeping cows -- the Rauner campaign says the remark was not meant as disparaging.

During a Republican rally, Sanguinetti said it's her family's annual tradition to come to the State Fair in Springfield. And Rauner says that unlike Quinn, if he's governor, he will live in the capital city and its executive mansion. 

So, will Sanguinetti's joke be enough to "tip" the election? Polls have steadily shown that Rauner has the upper hand downstate, where Republicans' nominee trounced Quinn four years ago.

One of the Illinois State Fair's most prominent attractions is the Butter Cow -- a cow, sculpted of butter.