March 21, 2005


Topinka taking aim at Blagojevich (LYNN SWEET, March 21, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times)

GOP state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka is preparing to run for governor -- raising money, polling and reaching out to key state and national Republicans.

If all goes as planned, Topinka, elected three times as state treasurer and a former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, is expected to announce a bid to topple Gov. Blagojevich when the legislative session ends, sometime in late spring or early summer.

Last week in Washington, Nancy Kimme, Topinka's chief of staff who doubles as her top political adviser, met with Michael Stokke, the deputy chief of staff for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) who handles Hastert's political portfolio. She also met with representatives of the Republican Governors Association. [...]

Kimme is briefing key state and national Republicans on a poll Topinka commissioned to test the treasurer's viability and Blagojevich's vulnerability. [...]

The poll showed that Blagojevich's approval rating was at 48 percent and his disapproval number at 45 percent.

Unlike Blagojevich, whose political strength rests in Chicago and its suburbs, Topinka has a strong statewide base and could win just by adding a very few points on the margins, the poll found.

Other findings from the Topinka poll:

*Asked if it was time for a new person to be governor, 47 percent said "yes."

*In a hypothetical November 2006 horse race, Blagojevich and Topinka start in a tie. Asked to choose between the two, 42 percent were for Topinka and 45 percent for Blagojevich, with 11 percent undecided.

*Blagojevich is popular with women, especially those who are more than 60 years old.

*The abortion issue will likely be a factor in a GOP primary that Topinka will have to confront. Some 42 percent of GOP primary voters are anti-abortion, and the issue impacts their vote. Topinka supports abortion rights, but she is in favor of parental notification for minors and is against late-term abortion.

How hard will Mayor Daley work for Mr. Blajojevich?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 21, 2005 10:51 AM

From the perspective of governing, Topinka offers no change from Blago.

If conservatives can keep from splitting the vote (doubtful), we could beat Topinka easily in the primary.

Most conservatives in the state won't turn up to vote for her. If she wins the nomination, Blago wins re-election.

I've often argued party loyalty to my conservative bretheren, but I won't vote for Topinka. Better to have a Democrat to bash for corruption & spending.

Posted by: BB at March 21, 2005 12:21 PM

So no power and no party? How does that help?

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2005 12:38 PM

How precisely is being State Treasurer during the Loot-A-Thon known as the 'George Ryan Administration' a recommendation for the top job?

At least when the Chicago Democrats steal, they have a little panache and keep the snow off the streets.

Posted by: bart at March 21, 2005 1:19 PM

Consider me underwhelmed as well.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 21, 2005 1:54 PM


Here in IL, the conservatives are too busy eating their young to coalesce around a good candidate.

I've interviewed O'Malley, Oberweis, Brady & Rauschenberger (next week) on my show. Either one of these 4, running alone against Topinka, wins the nomination.

More than one of them kills the possibility of ousting Blago, because Topinka wins, and all my friends stay home.

Take our (IL res.) word for it, Topinka isn't even a republican (much less a conservative)

Better to organize for 2008 General Assembly races. By then, the powers in Springfield will have effectively bankrupted the state.

Posted by: BB at March 21, 2005 2:26 PM

We deserve it, the pubbies let it happen.

I won't vote for her, either.

SOmeone better take the 4 of them in private and tell them one for all and all for 1.

Draw straws, I don't care.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 21, 2005 2:32 PM


It's never better to destroy your own party. Why can't Illinoisans be as mature as Californians?

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2005 2:39 PM

I can understand how the ineptitude of local candidates causes the GOP to lose statewide in Illinois, but what explains the weakness of the national ticket there? In NY and NJ, it has to do with the cultural conservatism of the national GOP, which has no resonance there. But Illinois has always been a conservative place, whether that is ethnic Catholics in and around Chicago, evangelical Christians Downstate or Scandanavian and German Protestants in the rest.

Posted by: bart at March 21, 2005 3:03 PM

IL is one state where the Republicans in the suburbs (for the most part) stayed too close to their country club roots. They just could not get excited about watching Newt et al. move to a position of power. Remember, Bob Michel was Minority Leader for what,

The IL GOP is stuck in the days of Charles Percy. Too bad Peter Fitzgerald never caught on with the public.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 21, 2005 6:42 PM


I agree with you, yet I would make the case that a Topinka governorship will "destroy" the party in the same way that Ryan's did.

To your first question, Daley may sit out, which may give Topinka a chance. (But it will be the lowest turn out election ever.)

Bart is correct that IL is less "blue" than CA, but the national ticket still needs support. Bush sucked IL dry to fund FL & OH- good thing too.

Sandy, attempts have been made to "Draw straws" but egos and vendettas are IL fare. Their patrons get mad if they see you talking to "patrons" on the "otherside."

It's disfunctional as all get out here, But hey, if the Tories have a shot, anything can happen.

Jim is right on.

Posted by: BB at March 21, 2005 10:06 PM