Judy Judy Judy
Assuming that JBT comes out of a primary relatively unscathed, there will be more twists and turns next summer and fall than in a David Mamet story. There are so many unforeseeable variables that it is almost futile to try to predict how things are going to spin out.
The national perspective is going to be interesting as well. Jake at Cross' blog found this tidbit on SwingStateProject.com:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) is not an especially popular guy. Among other things, he ranks in the bottom tier in gubernatorial approval, a poll in early October gave him just a 35-42 re-election number, and by most accounts, he hasn't had a very successful first term in office.
So it's not much of a surprise that the most popular - only popular? - Republican in the state, Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, has decided to toss her hat into the Republican primary ring. There are five guys already in the race, but they are mostly low name-rec nobodies, with the possible exception of uber-conservative Jim Oberweis, best known for losing in the IL Senate primary last year to disgraced ultra-loser Jack Ryan. Topinka stands at 81% name recognition and holds an impressive lead (31-15 over her nearest challenger) in a hypothetical primary matchup.
However, don't fret too much. Blago has somehow managed to amass an enormous warchest - $14 million and counting.That's some serious Hillary-level scrilla. Plus, IL has become very blue of late, so that's a natural advantage - plus, as I need remind no one, the national GOP is imploding, which is yet another natural advantage for us. Nonetheless, this race probably just got moved into the "interesting" category thanks to Topinka.
Interesting could be the tamest thing that this race gets called going forward.
The other aspect of note is what happens to the Dem slot for Treasurer. With the office now way in play, it is hard to believe that Paul Mangieri is going to be the best that the Dems put forward. And I mean that with absolutely nothing against Mr. Mangieri, whom I've never met. It's just that I think that in a blue state, with an open statewide seat up for grabs, the race is now begging for somebody with legislative experience and a broader perspective of state issues than one would get in his present position.
Plus, having successfully navigated the med mal bill through the Legislature, the Speaker is likely not as concerned as he once was about the vulnerability of some of his downstate members. As such, the Dems best bet is to put the most qualified candidate forward regardless of geographic or other considerations. And that means that there are now a lot of people that are going to give this race a fresh look.