March 21, 2006


Showtime in Illinois (Tom Bevan, 3/20/06, Real Clear Politics)

Tomorrow is primary day in Illinois and there are three races to watch. The first, and biggest, is the GOP primary for Governor which has essentially boiled down to a two person race between moderate Judy Baar Topinka and conservative Jim Oberweis.

Topinka is the only Republican currently holding statewide office (Treasurer) which demonstrates her appeal in a state where the GOP has basically been reduced to a smoldering heap of ruins. [...]

Oberweis, the multimillionaire dairy magnate and financial services manager, is a two-time loser for the GOP Senate nomination, most recently in 2004 when he made a name for himself - in a bad way - with an over the top anti-immigrant TV spot that had him flying in a helicopter over Soldier Field. [...]

However, Oberweis has problems of his own, which include an alternative conservative candidate pulling double digits (State Senator Bill Brady, 15%) and a penchant for making himself look silly by daring his opponents to draw straws for the nomination and passing out coupons for free ice cream wherever he goes. Frankly, Oberweis would be more of a threat if he wasn't such a bad candidate. Be that as it may, Oberweis may have a good enough organization to make this one close.

Ex-Governor Casts a Shadow Over GOP Race: The five Republican candidates in the Illinois primary have made the disgraced George H. Ryan an issue, which might backfire (P.J. Huffstutter, March 21, 2006, LA Times)
In the buildup to today's Republican primary election for governor in Illinois, it has been all but impossible to ignore the campaign bluster over the George H. Ryan factor.

Judy Baar Topinka, the state treasurer and onetime leader of the Illinois Republican Party, is leading the polls in the five-way fight and is seen as the party's best chance to unseat incumbent Democrat Rod Blagojevich. [...]

Oberweis has had to battle against his own connections to Ryan. He has admitted that he sought Ryan's support while making a bid in the 2004 GOP primary for U.S. Senate. And one of Oberweis' deputy campaign managers, Brad Roseberry, was subpoenaed to testify at Ryan's trial. Roseberry told jurors that, while on the clock as a state employee, he spent the majority of his time campaigning for Ryan and other GOP candidates.

The IL GOP is exactly inept enough to nominate a terrible candidate just for ideology sake. It took a lot of Republican effort to put a guy like Rod Blagojevich in office, but it'll take superhuman stupidity to keep him there.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 21, 2006 11:38 AM

Why would I vote for Judy?

Posted by: Sandy P at March 21, 2006 12:28 PM

"Oberweis has problems of his own, which include .. passing out coupons for free ice cream wherever he goes"

What kind of a killjoy would think that's a negative?

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 21, 2006 12:34 PM

"superhuman stupidity"

oj just described Chicago politics to a tee!

Posted by: Bartman at March 21, 2006 12:36 PM

Well, if Oberweis is passing out Ben & Jerry's coupons, then it definitely is a problem.

Posted by: John at March 21, 2006 1:39 PM

The more IL becomes the Peoples' Republic of IL, the less influence we will have.

Denny's getting ready to step down and we're going to lose at least 1 rep after the 2010 census.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 21, 2006 1:48 PM


Oberweis was a Diary Magnate (chain of Ice cream stores) before he made millions investing money (Oberweis Securities). His Ice Cream has the highest concentration of butter fat in the US, and therefore blows B & Js away in taste.

On a more serious note...


Yesterday, Novak, who has been handicapping IL races, wrote:

As long as the verdict against disgraced former Gov. George Ryan (R) does not come down this evening, liberal state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R) should win the GOP primary by a short margin over Jim Oberweis (R) and a crowd of others.

Topinka has a low ceiling of support in Republican primary, but she benefits as Oberweis and Bill Brady (R) split the conservative vote.
Oberweis made some late strides with an ad that depicts Topinka and Ryan dancing at a state fair -- the "pay to play" polka.


A note: Topinka is probably the weakest candidate the Republicans can field in the general election. Even if she makes it through the primary before the Ryan verdict is handed down -- and everyone expects him to be convicted -- she will be associated with Ryan as soon as it does come down. In a year when the obvious strategy is to run against embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) on an ethics platform, the Republican candidate, if it is Topinka, will be denied that luxury.

He's either been talking to every seasoned political analyst in Illinois, or he's been listening to my radio show.

Regardless, Topinka is the weakest, not the strongest, candidate against Blago. Rumors of Oberweis' "unelectability are greatly exaggerated.

Posted by: Bruno at March 21, 2006 2:26 PM

Correction: "Dairy Magnate"

Posted by: Bruno at March 21, 2006 2:28 PM


The voters of IL have elected her and rejected him several times, no?

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2006 7:41 PM

No - He never got the chance against Obama, the hierarchy shafted him, he should have been the nominee.

Topinka NEVER renounced George Ryan - if she did, she'd have more support. She kept her mouth shut.

And BlowDry wins.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 21, 2006 8:46 PM

Oberweis' lemonade is delicious and their brandy ice cream for Christmas wonderful.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 21, 2006 8:47 PM

No, actress Jeri Ryan's hubby pulled out, he should have been the nominee and they put in Alan Keyes - John Kass, Royko's replacement, wrote a column, IIRC, saying the TPTB specifically put in Keyes to say, see??? the only way to win is for a moderate to run.

W's people didn't like the ad either, but he's not actually having success w/his plan, either, is he?

A pox on them.

Via Sabato from 2004 election:

The only question remaining in Illinois is whether sensible Republicans will take out their justifiable anger on the blithering idiots in the state Republican party who picked Alan Keyes.

Probably no one could have beaten Barack Obama, but Keyes has turned into a joke--and this was utterly predictable. Nonetheless, those who are counting Obama in as an inevitable president should look closely at his Illinois voting record. He is far to the left, and he will be well advised to moderate his positions before considering any national contest.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 21, 2006 11:35 PM


Yes, he lost to Jack Ryan. Even Republicans won't vote for him.

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2006 11:39 PM


At this moment, "conservatives" are out polling "liberals" in IL 52/48.

Brady is doing what he was paid to do - siphon votes. Just watch. He will be the "Combine's" next annointed, as he accomplished the task assigned to him.

OB was far from the perfect candidate, but he was miles ahead of the corrupt pig the sleepwalking Rs just elected.

One can be forgiven for not understanding IL politics. It's more absurd than CA or LA. I simply suggest you pull your head out of Rove's strategy faxes. He isn't 10 feet tall.

I've looked at the returns this evening. All the wrong people won. Topinka will finish the job appointed to her in Nov.

Win or lose, the Dems have veto proof majorities in 2007.

My son graduates HS in two years. I'm outta here. Stick a fork in IL. It's done. A 2008 60/40 McCain landslide won't turn IL red after what Topinka will wreak in Nov. 06.

Posted by: Bruno at March 22, 2006 1:29 AM

The only Republican who's shown themself capable ofd winning a statewide election in recent cycles got the nomination. The GOP isn't a cult--it's a political party. Power trumps purity.

Posted by: oj at March 22, 2006 8:32 AM

Bruno, If all that's keeping you in Illinois is waiting for your son to finish HS, don't wait. He'll do fine in another school and when he goes away to college, he won't be a stranger when he comes home.

Posted by: erp at March 22, 2006 9:19 AM

"Power trump purity"? So, the GOP Congress was right to jump on the anti-Dubai Ports bandwagon?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 22, 2006 11:29 AM


No, there they gave power to the Left in exchange for racial purity.

Posted by: oj at March 22, 2006 11:38 AM