Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Personal Aside: Finally...Looks Like Republican Ticket is Forming.
It finally looks like the Republican state ticket is starting to jell. It may not be totally a done deal but by yesterday the jigsaw puzzle started to make some sense. Five points:
1. Ron Gidwitz, who has long been my personal first choice for governor has decided NOT to rundefinitely. The reason isnt that he has no fire in the belly but that the A-List sees someone like him with money and sits on its hands, deciding that Gidwitz can fund everything himself. That has always been a problem with candidates of wealthas I can testify having been a top assistant to a governor of Minnesota who was blessed (or cursed) with being a mega-multimillionaire. This guy went ahead and funded himself.
He got elected but seeking his second term he found that those who could have poured money into the coffers had once again decided to let him fund himself again. He lost by 91 votes out of a total of 1,250,000 cast and I can testify that he lost because of one thing: when people invest in a candidate, they have an decided interest in his winning. After becoming the best governor in Minnesota history, my candidate went back to his business and became even richer. But I can testify to the sagacity of the decision Ron has made. So number one, Gidwitz is NOT running. I hate to see it because I think he could have been elected with shrewder campaign strategy than he used when he ran for the GOP nomination in 2006 and that he has the kind of tough intellectual grasp of state government that could have enabled him to make a great contributioneven if he served only one term. But I respect his belief that if there are to be no other major contributors, hes not going to go it alone.
2. The guy who IS running and who has my enthusiastic support is Sen. Kirk Dillard whom Ive known for twenty or more years, ever since he was chief of staff for Jim Edgar. Kirk is pro-life, pro-2nd amendment and has had a wealth of experience both as an administrator, legislator and brilliant lawyer. I can support him unreservedly. Im sure we can count on him keeping arms length away from Big Jimbobut then Big Jimbo appears to be, through his Democratic fund-raising, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic machine. The Edgar connection Im not worried about because Edgar has always been non-toxic to conservatives, unlike Big Jimbo.
3. Ron Gidwitz will be Dillards general campaign chairman which means that not only will Kirk have access to funds but will have the enthusiastic support of what remains of the A-List.
4. What happens to the U. S. Senate slot is anybodys guess. I stick by my original prediction that Mark Kirk will NOT run for anything but reelection to the House. His divorce has been amicable but the money involved with insuperably tight federal restrictions on giving prevents many people who are not super-wealthy from getting into the battle. The word has always been that he and Rahm Emanuel are cohorts (which alone is enough to keep me from endorsing him)and that with the conceivable future retirement of Judy Biggert, redistricting may open up some favorable possibilities for Mark Kirk. Of course I wouldnt have voted for him anyhow because of his intransigence on the social issues but I would have to concede that pragmatically the team of the two KirksMark Kirk for Senate and Kirk Dillard for governor would have been attractive.
My personal choice for the U. S. Senate would be Brian Wesbury, the bright young free market economist who won top honors from The Wall Street Journal editorial board several years ago for calling the economic figures right on the money. Hes bright, attractive, a gifted speaker who would give Chris Kennedy a fight for his money (literally) and, who knows?, with this latter day dissatisfaction with the Kennedys, might defeat him. A alternative choice would be Rep. Judy Biggert who just might want to take a bite of the big apple to crown her legislative career.
5. Another question remaining is: how to fill the yawning hole for Cook county board president now that Paul Vallas is not running. My suggestion is State Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine who is young, attractive, tough minded.
6. As long as Im writing this, I might as well make recommendations for the balance of the Republican state ticket. For Lt. Governor, Kathy Salvi, a young lawyer and mother of six who is excellent on the stump for AG Rep. Jim Durkin who was an outstanding albeit under-funded candidate for the Senate some years ago for Treasurer State Sen. Dan Rutherford for Comptroller (incumbent Dan Hynes is thinking of running for AG but hes run into serious political trouble with the funeral industry) John Tillman, head of a free market think tank for secretary of state Eric Wallace who represents a new generation of African Americans in contrast to the lumbering overage Jesse White.