MORNING UPDATE: Republican Governors Association chief Gov. Mitt Romney (MA) counters Democratic Governors Association as big stakes Illinois race draws national attention.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who faces newly nominated GOP rival Judy Baar Topinka in November, takes his first round of questions about the match-up at a 9 a.m. press conference at a fence company on Cicero near Damen.
Among the political topics on the table:
1. What's the impact of the intended entry of State Sen. James Meeks (I-Chicago) into the governor's race as an independent?
2. Is Cook County the new Florida? Are there AWOL ballots floating around in Baggies?
Look for the Democratic primary for Cook County Board President--already one for the Chicago political history books because of Cook County Board President John Stroger's stroke days before the election showdown with Board Member Forrest Claypool--to head to the courts if the uncounted ballot flap is not quickly resolved.
Tuesday showed that last-minute negative ad attacks are not always fatal.
Investment banker David McSweeney handily won over chief challengers Kathy Salvi and state Rep. Robert Churchill (R-Lake Villa). Last week, Salvi went up with television spots and direct mail accusing McSweeney of being a tax-and-spender. McSweeney quickly put out rebuttal spot.
This waiting for me this morning from the Democratic Governors Association. The RGA statement follows.
The DGA is happy to go after Topinka because of her plurality win--38 percent to Jim Oberweis with 32 percent, Bil Brady 19 percent and Ron Gidwitz almost hitting 11 percent.
But Blagojevich was certainly sent a message that he has some relations to mend within his own party, what with former Ald. Edwin Eisendrath picking up 31 percent to the gov's 68 percent.
BLAGOJEVICH WINS PRIMARY
Victory Foreshadows November Success
Washington, D.C. – Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich handily won today’s Democratic primary, and the overwhelming support he received shows he has the momentum for a successful re-election in November. Roughly seven out of ten Democratic voters showed their support for Gov. Blagojevich—a sign that Democrats are united behind the governor. The leading Republican candidate, however, only received slightly more than a third of her party’s support—signaling that Republicans are divided and less enthusiastic about their gubernatorial candidate.
DGA Chair New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson issued the following statement congratulating Gov. Blagojevich on his victory and highlighting the governor’s accomplishments for Illinois families:
“I congratulate Gov. Blagojevich for his success in the primary. His victory proves what Illinois families already know—that Gov. Blagojevich’s innovative policies are working. Re-electing Gov. Blagojevich is a top priority for Democrats and it should be for the people of Illinois as well.
“Gov. Blagojevich has produced real results for the people of Illinois. He created All Kids—the first program in the country that guarantees every child in his state has health insurance. He raised the minimum wage for 450,000 workers and guaranteed equal pay for women. And he has taken meaningful steps to improve education by expanding preschool to thousands of students, devoting more resources to education, and raising standards in high school for the first time in more than two decades.��?
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
RGA LEADERSHIP CONGRATULATES ILLINOIS GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE – JUDY BAAR TOPINKA
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican Governors Association (RGA) Chairman Mitt Romney (MA) congratulates Republican Judy Baar Topinka on last night’s gubernatorial primary win in her effort to become Illinois’s next Republican Governor. Topinka will face Democrat Incumbent Governor Rod Blagojevich in the November general election.
“Primaries are never easy, but Illinois Republicans should be proud to be represented by Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka. This nomination gives the GOP trusted leadership, necessary for cleaning up Springfield,��? said RGA Chairman Mitt Romney (MA). “Illinois is an important and winnable state for our party, and we look forward to working closely with Judy in the months ahead.��?
Topinka won the competitive five-way Republican primary by nearly 6 percent more than her next closest opponent, Jim Oberweis.
“Judy Baar Topinka is a successful, proven leader capable of running the great state of Illinois,��? said Governor Romney. “She’ll make a difference on day one.��?
The RGA was founded in 1963 and serves as the official political organization of America’s Republican Governors. There are currently 28 Republican Governors representing more than sixty percent of the nation’s population. In November, 36 gubernatorial contests will be decided.