Thursday, February 4, 2010

Illinois Elections Worthy of National Attention

Don’t lose interest in the Illinois elections just because conservative Adam Andrezejewski came up short of the Republican Gubernatorial nomination last Tuesday.

There are two reasons for this: first, a little-known but very solid State Senator from downstate Illinois, Bill Brady, appears to have won instead. One door may have closed and another opened. Brady is currently holding a 400+ vote lead over old-boy Republican–backed Kirk Dillard with all precincts now in.

If Bill Brady wins, it will be because he ran a sharp rebel insurgency campaign. He avoided a head to head clash in the expensive Chicago media market, concentrating instead on small towns and rural areas where discontent and resentment with The Chicago Way of doing things runs high. There was a very clever, almost military thinking at work there.

So far, the media has shown little curiosity about him. No “underdog comes from behind and wins” stories, no “David and Goliath” angle. Not a word, so far.

The Republican establishment doesn’t seem too happy with his win, either. Some big people were behind several of the other candidates. They can be expected to throw Brady under the bus at the first opportunity. However, Brady seems to have strong appeal with the sick-of-Windy-City-politicians voters. But, to win against Democratic Governor, Pat Quinn, in November Brady will need to raise money and a corps of volunteers. Keep an eye on him. He may be able to do it.

The second reason to pay attention to Illinois this year is this: from top to bottom, the Democratic slate is riddled with incompetence and corruption. It will be a slow motion train wreck all the way to November.

Already, the first car has jumped the rails. This morning, February 4th, local talk radio hosts were guffawing over news that Democratic candidate for the state Lieutenant Governor, Scott Lee Cohen, was arrested in 2005 and charged with holding a knife to his prostitute-girlfriend’s throat. Yes, you read that right – and he just won the primary two days ago. Cohen also has tax troubles. For the sordid details read the Chicago Sun-Times report.

Another case in point – and I have no idea what Democratic primary voters put in their coffee Tuesday morning – Chicago banker Alexi Giannoulias, a close friend of Barack Obama, won the Democratic nomination to the US Senate…this just two weeks after President Obama told a crowd in Massachusetts that “Bankers don’t need another vote in the Senate.”

But, Giannoulias is not just any banker. Google “Broadway Bank Chicago” or click on this link to Crain's Chicago Business and simply read the collection of headlines. We’re sure to learn more as the weeks and months go by.

And, don't forget to mark you calendars for June 3rd; that's the day the Blago Trial is scheduled to start. When that happens, discounting a plea bargain or unexpected deaths, a centipede will start dropping shoes.

As for the Republican Senate candidate there is not too much to be excited about. Congressman Mark Kirk won the nomination. Although Kirk describes himself as a social moderate and fiscal conservative, his fiscally conservative credentials are not particularly solid: he lost a lot of credibility when he became one of the eight house Republicans who voted with the Democrats in favor of Cap and Trade last year. Mark Kirk will campaign as a conservative, but is he?

All together, the 2010 Illinois elections will be fun to watch and could help frame the National debate. Things are just starting to get interesting.

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