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Are Democrats united around Blagojevich? Democratic Governors Association hits Topinka over her plurality win, betting GOP will not unify around Topinka. Republican Governors Association quickly replies.


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.
3. Mudslinging.
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.


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


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.



It may be a brutal campaign for Topinka, but Blagojevich has little to worry about unless the Feds start issuing indictments to his people. After all, two-thirds of the Republicans said they wanted someone else. Either the conservatives will sit on their hands or vote for Blagojevich given their almost visceral dislike for Topinka. They'd rather see the party lose if it can discredit the "moderate" wing of the GOP. They're just returning the favor for how they feel they were treated when Keyes was running for Senator. Of course, only Blagojevich benefits from this, but that seems to have escaped their notice.

By the way, it was almost comical how Brady in a radio commercial broadcast here in Springfield talked about how he was born downstate and not in Chicago. Frankly, I haven't noticed any prejudice expressed by people in this area against Chicago. Thanks for your column on Topinka. It was well worth reading.
Dave Graf

Who cares how long it takes to count the vote, the problem is Stroger has won again. What am I missing. How can anyone afford this tax increase. Maybe to make us feel better Daley will build another $50 million park. I have only one question for Stroger/Daley supportors.........What the hell are you thinking?????

Wow. I've worked as an election judge for about 10 years now. I was absolutely shocked at how much the judges had to handle the ballots with the new system. It's a recipe for disaster. I also think the board of elections needs to force the judges to be more detail oriented when packaging the stuff to turn it. I saw people last night with no clue as usual. They just bring everything in and expect the workers to sort it out for them.

"Maybe to make us feel better Daley will build another $50 million park"

It was actually a $500 million park. You're not giving credit where credit is due. And recently, they decided to stay with the corruption riddled old management, rather than going w/ Paul Beitler, a connected developer with new ideas on how to make the park more user friendly. "Hired Park" anyone?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 22, 2006 8:06 AM.

Sweet Column: Topinka survives. was the previous entry in this blog.

Illinois House Races: Internal GOP memo on 6th cd, 8th cd. NRCC SENDS OUT SLAM ON DUCKWORTH. DCCC HURLS HIT ON MCSWEENEY is the next entry in this blog.

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