CHICAGO – The Eastern tiger salamander (search) won the vote for the title of Illinois' state amphibian, while slow and steady was a winning strategy for the painted turtle (search) in the state reptile race.
"We want to commend each of the candidates for a very strong, positive, educational campaign. While the candidates may live in the muck, they didn't sling any mud in this election. Not one of them went negative," Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (search) said Saturday.
More than 75,000 votes were cast since the finalists were announced in August, Quinn said. The public vote, which was conducted on his Web site, ended at midnight Friday.
Quinn said he expects quick action by the state Legislature to adopt the Eastern tiger salamander as the official state amphibian and the painted turtle as the official state reptile. If adopted, they will join a list of 17 other state symbols, from state tree (white oak) to state fossil (Tully monster).
The society scaled down a list of 102 reptiles and amphibians native to Illinois to settle on the three finalists for each. The candidates had to be easily found throughout much of the state and had to be relatively attractive.