Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Updated August 3, 2004,11:00 am.

Some or all of the potential Republican U. S. Senate candidates have been invited to meet with the State Central Committee at 11:00 am today at the Union League Club in Chicago. The first order of business is to explain the ground rules and perhaps consider the notion or motion, if raised, of some access to the Committee’s meetings, by the media. Short presentations and interviews of the candidates are scheduled to start at 12:00 pm. At some point, there may be deliberations by the Committee and perhaps a decision today as to who the candidate is. State Party Chairman Judy Baar Topinka has "guaranteed," there will be a candidate by the end of the day, but some Committee members are skeptical of that.

There are now seven identified potential Republican U. S. Senate candidates to oppose Democratic U. S. Senate Candidate Barack Obama. Liz Gorman and Robert Plummer dropped out; so much for soccer moms and millionaires’ staying power.

Top tier candidates now are (1) John Cox (3rd place finish out of three in 2002 Senate Primary, dropped out of 2004 Senate Primary), (2)Jim Oberweis (2nd place finish out of three in 2002 Senate primary; 2nd Place finish out of eight in 2004 Senate Primary, but annoyed Speaker Hastert and perhaps Karl Rove by criticizing Bush’s immigration policy and with his harsh statements and ads regarding same [Now acknowledges that perhaps his ads were too harsh, but claims White House is not concerned about his candidacy and does not think it would hurt Bush]; (3) Rep. Roger Eddy, who has not sought to publicize his candidacy and for inexplicable reasons, neither has State Party Chairman Topinka. State Rep. Roger Eddy is completing his first term in the State House. He is the Superintendent of the Hutsonville School District in downstate Crawford County; Rep. Eddy is a thoughtful, articulate social and economic conservative who would shine downstate, but may have trouble being competitive upstate. (4) General John Borling (2%, or about 12,000 votes in the March, 2004 primary). General Borling has some support on the State Central Committee because of his 37 year military career and shared POW experience with Senator John McCain.

Bottom tier candidates are (5) Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria (1%, or about 6, 000 votes in the March, 2004 Senate Primary) and (6) Dr. Andrea Barthwell (former DC Government Deputy Drug Czar with questionable Republican credentials, who has had her own recently disclosed sex scandal).

Chairman Topinka has alluded to two or three other candidates, but so far, only the above six names are public.

In addition, the name of former Ambassador and conservative gadfly, former Presidential candidate and former U. S. Senate candidate in Maryland, media personality and expert debater Alan Keyes has emerged in the last two days. Keyes, who like Obama, is African-American and is as articulate and conservative as Barack Obama is articulate and liberal, may have an interest in running, notwithstanding his lack of a tie or nexus to Illinois. Keyes indicated to some Committee members that he would be willing to fly out to meet with the Committee but he could not do so today.

A contest between Keyes and Obama would draw national attention because of the candidates’ rhetorical skills and polar opposite political philosophies-- and perhaps because it would be the first time in the history of the United States that two African-Americans had faced each other as major party nominees in a U. S. Senate race.

Jeff Berkowitz, host of Public Affairs, can be reached at JBCG@aol.com.