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GOP governor primary: What if jury delivers verdict on former Gov. Ryan on Monday. ``Not a deal breaker,'' said Topinka

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Just what happens in the GOP primary, I wondered when I interviewed Judy Baar Topinka at the Elmhurst St. Patrick's Day parade in Saturday, if the jury deciding the fate of former Gov. George Ryan comes in on Monday with a verdict…and the former governor is guilty.

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I parked at York High School in Elmhurst and headed toward Spring Road on Saturday.
I wanted to catch the 6th congressional district candidates at the big St. Patrick’s Day parade in the suburb. That’s Christine Cegelis, Tammy Duckworth and Lindy Scott for the Democrats and Peter Roskam, who has the GOP nomination clinched.
I’ve been writing a lot about this House contest and how it has divided Democrats and wanted to check in with the campaigns before Tuesday’s primary vote.
And as a bonus, I was expecting to see at least three of the Republicans running for governor.
I asked a parade official for directions. I got steered the right way and picked up an interesting aside on Democratic politics in the 6th from Steve Nelms, 38, a plasterer from Addison.
To recap for casual visitors to the blog: Duckworth, is the wounded Iraq war vet; Cegelis, the 2004 nominee and Scott, the college professor.
Nelms voted for Cegelis in 2004. Now he said he is a volunteer for Duckworth.
``We have three great candidates. All worthy of this spot,’’ he said.
He has not seen his fellow suburban Democrats this excited for years. Not since, he said, William Redmond, the Bensenville Democrat who was the speaker of the Illinois House in the mid 1970s.
``Honestly,’’ said Nelms, ``it’s invigorating.’’
Just what happens to the GOP primary, I wondered when I interviewed Judy Baar Topinka at the parade, if the George Ryan jury comes in on Monday with a verdict…and the former governor is guilty.
Will it hurt her?
Replied Topinka, `` I think everybody is kind on their own. I don’t think people associate me with that anymore.. I don’t think anybody feels good about it. It certainly does not add to the picture. But it’s there and we deal with it. I don’t think it is a deal breaker.’’

Jim Oberweis was handing out two-for-one coupons on the parade route, good at his namesake ice cream stores.
``This race is clearly between Judy Topinka and myself…..(Bill Brady) `` is trying to take some of the conservative vote away from me.’’
Oberweis is finishing up hitting on Topinka. ``She is not likely to be able to reform politics in Illinois and I believe I can bring dramatic change to the way things have been done in Illinois.’’

Ron Gidwitz is going to be spending the remaining hours of the campaign focused on suburban Cook and the collar counties, while his rivals, including Bill Brady who skipped Elmhurst, head Downstate.
``I think the good thing is that Brady and Oberweis are splitting that conservative vote, that ultra conservative vote…and the moderately conservatives are going to be voting for me.’’
How, I asked, can he distinguish himself from Topinka.
``That’s very easy. She is way on the left hand side of the road. And she’s hidden.’’ Topinka has been avoiding some events where she figures she will be just be beat up by the three men she is running against.
Not Saturday. She was just down the block, waiting for the parade to start.

1 Comment

If Ryan is convicted on Monday, I wonder if you'll finally see the ads coming out with the video of Topinka dancing with Ryan while a voice in the background plays up the connection between the two.

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 18, 2006 10:27 PM.

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