The announcement for governor by Judy Baar Topinka (notice I have decided to spell her name right) carried on Channel 7 and reported by Andy Shaw, carried within a tape that could well be seen repeatedly by Illinoisans in the future. It was a charming vignette of Judy dancing the polka with Governor George Ryan (who is now doing another kind of dance before a grand jury). The dance is likely to be portrayed on a TV slip by Jim Oberweisat least I imagine it would be, and if she emerges from that scrap and wins the nomination, to be carried once more by the well-financed Rod Blagojevich campaign. So Illinoisans will have their fill of the Topinka-Ryan dance long before next November and after Ryan will be doing his time.
As it stands, there is little or no likelihood of any of the major conservative candidates getting out of the race although State GOP chairman Andy McKenna will seek to get them to agree on a unified ticket. Certainly Jim Oberweis is not going to get out: why should he? Hes running second to Topinka now, ran second before but was bumped from the Senate nomination by the establishment and he not only has his own well-funded campaign but the enthusiastic resources of Jack Roeser (no relation, unfortunately) whose net worth is north of $100 million. Steve Rauschenbergers not going to pull out: why should he? A legislative expert, hes regarded as the man many Republicans would hire for the job. Bill Bradys not going to pull out: why should he? He was endorsed by the Conservative Summit and is regarded by many as possessing the combination of brains and charisma to get elected. And Ron Gidwtiz is not going to pull out: why should he? Hes got enough money to run the distance and his wife, a Kemper from the insurance family, has much more than he.
And should Judy sit down and make peace with the right? Why should she? Shes got Jim Edgar, most of the Republican establishment and the editorial boards plus the working media on her team. Carol Marin is waiting by her phone to be told that Judy is foresquare for abortion rights with no conditions which would launch a big media celebration. Topinka has regularly maintained that the right is full of loonies, anyhow, so nows the time when to prove it and defeat the right thoroughly. The right has long maintained that it has major claim to the GOP so nows the time to prove it by defeating Judy. In the money department, only Oberweis has the resources to do it. In essence: whether or not Judy gets a clear field to cap the nomination is up to Jim Oberweis.