March 6, 2006


Judy Baar Topinka for GOP nomination for governor (Chicago Sun-Times, March 5, 2006)

When Democrats steamrolled over the Republican slate four years ago, ending the GOP's quarter-century reign over Illinois politics, only one Republican was left standing in statewide office. That was Judy Baar Topinka, a feisty social moderate, fiscal conservative and history maker.

In 1994, Topinka became the first woman elected state treasurer and the first Republican to win the post in 32 years. Illinois voters have elected Topinka three times to the office; in 2002, they sent her back despite the George Ryan scandal that crippled other campaigns. Now Topinka has an opportunity to again make history by becoming the first woman elected governor in Illinois. Through her record of keen management skills, proven government performance, enthusiastic political leadership and personal integrity, Topinka has earned the endorsement of the Sun-Times News Group for the GOP nomination for governor. [...]

Topinka is known for keeping a close eye on the money. She told a reporter in 2003 that one thing never found at the bottom of her bag is loose change. "When I get change, it immediately goes into the change purse. I don't move until the change is put away," she said. She has done a commendable job as treasurer. When the state received the $9.1 billion from the tobacco settlement in 1999, Topinka recommended saving 60 percent of the money. She also lobbied for a large contribution to the state's Rainy Day Fund. She continues to be proactive when it comes to state finances, recently challenging the state's taking money collected for special funds for other uses.

Throughout the GOP's trying circumstances, Topinka played a critical role in trying to hold her party together, and her record of honest, professional management gives it a much needed shot of credibility. A measure of her commitment to the race and her belief that Gov. Blagojevich is leading the state toward financial ruin is that Topinka -- not a millionaire like Gidwitz, Oberweis and Brady -- is giving up a job she obviously relishes. We have no doubt that Topinka possesses the skills needed to run an energetic campaign and the qualities needed to be governor.

The second half of the team to face Blagojevich and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn in November should be Steven J. Rauschenberger, a smart, experienced conservative state senator. Although Rauschenberger initially said he would not serve with Topinka should she emerge as the GOP nominee, he has since wisely changed his tune.

He wants to win, eh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 6, 2006 7:13 PM

Topinka in IL and Blackwell in OH, there may be hope yet for the GOP, even tho' most of the DC practitioners are a worthless bunch of, if not idiots, then, even worse, reelection only politicians.

Posted by: Mike Daley at March 6, 2006 9:00 PM

I'm not voting for her. Dem in R clothing - didn't say Boo on George Ryan.

As to 25 year pubbie rule, they deserved to lose.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 6, 2006 9:55 PM


Yes, Blagojevich has been terrific.

Posted by: oj at March 6, 2006 10:17 PM


Topinka will be no different than Blago. People who live here know this.

You are basing your "support" upon the proposition that a pig with an "R" after its name is better than a pig with a "D".

If one would go so far to admit that this is true in some instances, one would also have to admit that there are times when whatever small benefits the "R" gets you are not worth the cost.

Topinka isn't anywhere near a "close call." She's a liberal, corrupt, patronage pig who has as much (if not more) ethics baggage than Blago.

Some probabilities..

1. She'll probably lose the primary by a point or two. Her numbers are soft, and the people who tend turn out will be the ones who know of her record. Her strength is in the name recog. department, and they are the types who tend not to show up on election day.

2. If she wins, Blago will probably wrap up the election by May/June, pasting her with so much baggage that she won't be able to recover.

3. Her only chance of beating Blago is Dem crossover. Should the stars align, and Topinka actually win, she will be beholden to Democrats, not Republicans, for her success. With Topinka creating veto-proof Demcrat majorities in both houses (collapse of conservative turnout), she will become Mike Madigan's b--ch on Nov. 8th.

Rather than veto everything and force the Dem's hands, she will wheel and deal (she's a liberal, after all) - allowing the coming tax/spend/pension conflagration to be blamed on Republicans.

Of course, you are the super genius uber-blogger and I'm a lowly plebe, so I'm probably wrong about everything. Let's just watch and see how it all turns out.

Posted by: Bruno at March 7, 2006 11:51 AM


Governors decided two presidential elections in 40 years. Running governments matters very much.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 11:58 AM


I don't dispute your point. Your view seems to stem from organizational issues (precincts, fundraising, etc.) This is all very important and reasonable.

I can make the following statement with a great deal of confidence.

IL Conservatives/Republicans will be better organized and motivated to make IL a red state in 2008 without Topinka than with her.

Explaining why this is would take time, but I can start by telling you that your underlying premise is mistaken.

What makes you think Topinka gives a damn about any "Republican" or "Conservative" prospects? Topinka/Blago aren't members of any party. They (and a good bit of IL politcians) are akin to different branches of the same crime family.

Republicans here will be far better off riding a "Florio" style backlash against raw Democrat incompetence than trying to put lipstick on a Topinka Pig in 2008.

Posted by: Bruno at March 7, 2006 12:25 PM

With her it is a Red State. The idea that the GOP is better off keeping it Blue is absurd.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 12:31 PM

Judy is "keeping it Blue" not red. You see party, I see politics and policy choices.

If your premises are correct, the you are. If mine are correct, then I am.

Posted by: Bruno at March 7, 2006 1:20 PM

No, you can't get your policies if your party isn't running things. That's the mistake ideologues always make. They punish the impure and thereby their own cause.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 1:48 PM


At the risk of sounding redundant redundant, we aren't going to get ANY of "our policies" with Judy running things, but we will get a huge share of the blame when (not if) things go wrong.

I don't want to "punish the impure." Just don't ask me to ingest it.

Off Topic...Is it my imagination, or have your stats just take a big jump in the last few days/weeks?

Posted by: Bruno at March 7, 2006 2:11 PM

Fiscal responsibility is a not inconsiderable conservative virtue.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 2:19 PM


I'm reminded of one of my favorite "Pepper and Salt" cartoons (of WSJ fame).

A old guy at a desk is looking at piece of paper while a young looks on.

The old guy says "This is impressive resume. We are very interested in talking to the person it is supposed to represent."

Since you are so convinced that Topinka is going to win (and I am forced to admit that it is an outside possibilty), I'll make you a bet that with in 1-2 months of her inauguration, she signs a massive tax increase with out a dime of real spending reduction.

With that on the table, You are 100% correct about fiscal responsibilty. We in IL would love to see politician that actually had any.

Posted by: Bruno at March 7, 2006 3:04 PM


No, I expect she'll lose, but she's the only candidate the GOP can win with. Winning elections is more important than your quest for ideological purity.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 4:36 PM

Bruno: Right now the Dems control the governorship and both houses. What happens if the GOP nominates a "real" conserative? He loses, GOP still doesn't have the legislature. So, what do conservatives gain by not voting for this RINO? What do they gain by not voting at all? Ever hear of cutting off the nose to spite the face?

Posted by: Bob at March 7, 2006 4:43 PM



Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 4:50 PM


Though weak (ideologically and politically), the Republicans can block legislation if they bring on one or two Conservative Dems (many downstate Dems are better than Suburban Repub. hacks.)

Further, with Blago promising to veto income and sales tax hikes (he kept the pledge for 4 years while all 3 past Republicans here lied and hiked taxes), the threat of an override is much lower if Republicans stick together.

Neither you nor OJ have addressed my assertion that Topinka costs Republicans seats in the general. The fact is you can't. Even liberals here in IL admit it - in fact, they are salivating over the prospect.

Go ahead and pretend that it is about "purity." It isn't. I'd vote for Gidwitz despite his poor policy on Education or social liberalism. He won't weaken the party. Topinka will.

Topinka is poison because she is corrupt. Now, if you (again) wish to pretend that the media you find so slanted on national issues is accurate here in IL, that's fine.

The fact that Blago is beatable (it will be hard). The Dems here are VERY worried over the corruption issue because they ran on it in 2002, and now are perceived to have made it worse. A Topinka candidacy saves them from the entire issue.

The fact is that all four R's have a shot at beating Blago - though it will have to be a well run race. The "media wisdom" is that Topinka stands the best chance. The fact is that she is probably the weakest canditate of the four.


In a briefing I rec'd from one of the candidates, open-ended questions on the most important issue in IL showed corruption toward the bottom of the top ten list. When choices were given, "corruption" came in second.

IL has leapfrogged LA and NJ on which has the most piggish political class in the nation. It will be the Republican's best issue in the general, and Topinka can't use it.

It isn't purity. It's common sense.

Posted by: Bruno at March 8, 2006 11:04 AM

A winning gubernmatorial candidate will cost them seats but a loser gain them? You're new at this, huh?

Posted by: oj at March 8, 2006 11:08 AM

No OJ, I live here. Topinka isn't a winning candidate, and the "loser's" un-electability is greatly exaggerated.

But feel free to address the arguments you want to address and ignore the ones I've made. Time will tell in any circumstance.

Posted by: Bruno at March 8, 2006 12:58 PM


She's the only GOP candidate who can beat him and leads him in the polls. You may not be aware she's one of the few Republicans to win a statewide election there recently....

Posted by: oj at March 8, 2006 1:16 PM

Not only does she lead in other polls but in the one you cite she's the only Republican who's even close and keeps him in the low 40s, which is a winnable race for a challenger.

Posted by: oj at March 8, 2006 5:44 PM