April 23, 2003

60-40 VISION

Bush presses Edgar to run for Senate (LYNN SWEET, April 23, 2003, Chicago Sun-Times)
President Bush called former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar to persuade him to run for the Senate on Monday, and on Tuesday Edgar said he was "seriously'' considering the possibility. [...]

After the call from the president, Edgar dined at Mike Ditka's Restaurant in Chicago with a group of political intimates and top staffers from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who flew to the city as part of a campaign to convince Edgar to run.

The dinner group included the committee's executive director, Jay Timmons, and its political director, Patrick Davis, as well as GOP consultant Carter Hendren and Bob Kjellendar, a member of the Republican National Committee and college friend of Bush's senior political strategist, Karl Rove. [...]

The meeting at Ditka's was described as a session where Edgar was "getting up to speed'' on new campaign finance laws and what would be involved in a federal campaign. Edgar, who served as governor for eight years and secretary of state for 10 years, has never been in a federal race.

With his considerable stature in the state, Edgar quickly emerged as the consensus pick of GOP officials. Illinois Republicans have a thin bench, and if Edgar decides not to run the attention would shift to State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, the state party chairman, who said last week her attention was focused on getting Edgar to say "yes."

What's not clear is if Edgar wants to give up his comfortable lifestyle, cushioned with money from teaching, lobbying and serving on corporate boards.

Mr. Bush really needs to run better in the Rust Belt than he did in 2000 and getting a strong top of the state ticket in IL would be a great help. If they can recruit Gov. Edgar, we'd expect to see the President log a lot of time in IL on his way to SD, WA, NV, and CA. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 23, 2003 12:21 PM
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