CLEARWATER, FL - President Barack Obama carried Illinois in 2008 by a 62-to-37 percent margin, beating Republican John McCain by more than 128,000 votes statewide.
But this time, dogged by an underperforming economy and high unemployment, Obama won't do as well in his home state - or so says former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar.
That's just one reason Edgar thinks Republican congressional and legislative candidates could do well this year. The other reason is that Gov. Pat Quinn is virtually invisible and a potential liability for lower-ballot Democrats because of his unpopularity.
"Let's face it, if Mitt Romney would win Illinois, he'd win by a biblical landslide nationwide. But I think Mitt Romney is going to run much better in Illinois than John McCain ran because I don't think Barack Obama is going to do that well in Illinois," Edgar told reporters after Illinois delegates met for the first time at the Republican National Convention.
"The Democrats really don't have anyone they can call on," the ex-governor continued.
"I don't think in this election, looking at the polls right now, Gov. Quinn is going to be an asset and help Democrats across the state. In fact, they seem to be distancing themselves from him," Edgar said.
The source for Quinn's troubles with voters, Edgar said, is that he inherited deep financial problems from impeached ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and "I'm not sure he's improved on them." Edgar went on to describe Quinn as "a little stubborn at times."
"There's times to be stubborn. There are other times, I learned, where you have to meet folks halfway. I think he needs to concentrate on that," Edgar said of Quinn.
It all means that Republicans should do well this fall given Obama and Quinn's sagging popularity in their home state, Edgar said.
"In many ways, there will be a coattail effect downstate or perhaps the suburbs. I think we're going to see Republicans do much better in 2012 than 2008."