Monday, December 13, 2004

Updated December 13, 2004 at 12:15 am
Going “Back to the USSR,” with some of Topinka's state GOP staff.
Is “Judy in disguise [with glasses] ready for Prime Time? Will Andy McKenna, Jr. back into the next State GOP chair? Is Topinka shy when it comes to taking a position on democracy? Cattle call for Guv. Possible AG/GUV/SOS candidate Jim Durkin takes on AG Lisa Madigan, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and much, much more in tonight’s City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs.” [8:30 pm, Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV] throughout the City of Chicago.
Jeff Berkowitz: So, in this mix, the name that comes up most frequently, perhaps most logically, to run for governor, to be the gubernatorial candidate in the Republican Party is State Senator Steve Rauschenberger. What do you think, would he be a good candidate for Governor?

Jim Durkin: Steve would be a good candidate for a constitutional office. I have a lot of respect for Steve…

Berkowitz: Here are a bunch of names that I will throw out. Nobody is sure that they would run. Some would be quite unlikely, but they would be… people who could lead the Republican Party…because of past experience: Cong. Shimkus [19th Dist.]… his district is downstate, I have heard his name [for Governor]. Have you heard his name… Would he be a good candidate.

Durkin: I have, yes. I think John would be; he needs to move a little bit to the center. He plays to an extremely conservative district…he has to move to the center.

Berkowitz: But, he has lots of models. Who is that guy? [Senator] Dick Durbin… Wasn’t he pro-Life once upon a time?

Durkin: Dick Durbin was a champion of the pro-Life movement, I believe, in the U. S. House.

Berkowitz: And, I don’t say that necessarily in a negative way because a lot of people when they represent a small area…once they represent a larger area, their views change. Is that necessarily bad?

Durkin: I don’t think it is bad, but I think—

Berkowitz: Could you see your views changing. You are Pro-Life, right?

Durkin: I am Pro-Life.

Berkowitz: Could you one day look at your constituency and say they prefer a more moderate stance? And could you do that? Be closer to pro-choice than pro-Life?

Durkin: No, I will continue to keep the same principles that I have and I am not going to flip…

Berkowitz: But, Shimkus, you are saying, could do that without altering—

Durkin: I think it is an issue when someone changes his or her position-

Berkowitz: They are gong to have to answer for it.

Durkin: They are going to have to answer to it….

Berkowitz: Speaker Hastert. Would he ever consider giving up his Speakership to run for Governor.

Durkin: I don’t think so. I think he is--
Berkowitz: Leader Tom Cross. He is the minority leader [in the State House]. Things are going well…would he consider running for Governor?

Durkin: …I think Tom is a name that should be thrown in the mix.

Berkowitz: Mark Steven Kirk. Congressman from the Tenth Cong. District. Just won his second term… Pretty popular in a district that some [Senator Fitzgerald?] would say mirrors the state. That is, not very conservative these days, not very liberal…does he have the right profile to run for Governor.

Durkin: Well, I think that District is a little more liberal than the State…I think Mark has a good background. He is very intelligent and his military background is a good asset…

Berkowitz: Strong on national defense; that would play well across the state, but would his views on abortion, on gun control, on gay rights, which are pretty socially moderate, would they play well across the state?
Berkowitz: Would you like to see Mark Kirk run for Governor?

Durkin: I would like to see Mark put his name out there and see how it works, I have a great respect for Mark.

Berkowitz: Patrick Fitzgerald, the U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, has a reputation for being quite independent…who better to do it [make corruption the issue] in a run for Governor?

Durkin: …I wouldn’t be surprised if he moved up within the Department of Justice and takes another position… I don’t think he would be a good candidate for governor… He is a prosecutor through and through.

Berkowitz: Quickly. We have a bunch of names [some of which might be much more of a possibility for a lower statewide office than Governor]. Stop me when I hit on one that you think sounds like the right choice. Jim Ryan, Judy Baar Topinka, Pat O’Malley.

Durkin: I think Judy Baar Topinka, since she won the last election, she was the last Republican—

Berkowitz: Should she consider running for Governor?

Durkin: Absolutely.

Berkowitz: Pat O’Malley. Should he consider it?

Durkin: I think Pat is a, ah-- sure.

Berkowitz: Jim Ryan?

Durkin: I think Jim Ryan is settled in retirement right now.

Berkowitz: Jim Durkin?

Durkin: Jim Durkin, sure.

Berkowitz: …John Cox, Jim Oberweis?

Durkin: Well, I like them. They are both friends, but not the best time for them.

Berkowitz: Joe Birkett ran for Attorney General, he is the State’s Attorney in DuPage County.

Jim Durkin: I don’t think Joe fits the profile for a gubernatorial candidate.

Berkowitz: Tom McCracken.

Durkin: Certainly. Tom has done a good job at the RTA.

Berkowitz: former state legislator.

Durkin: Very intelligent. Very articulate.

Berkowitz: Bob Schillerstrom, Chairman, DuPage County Board.

Durkin: Bob’s got a big profile. I’d like to see him consider it.

Berkowitz: Dan Rutherford, state senator.

Durkin: I think Dan’s looking at some other spots.

Berkowitz: Bill Brady, state senator.

Durkin: They are all working hard.

Berkowitz: Christine Radogno, state senator.

Durkin: Christine is my state senator, sure.

Berkowitz: Kirk Dillard, Dave Syverson, Chris Lauzen—state senators. Beth Coulson, state representative. Alan Keyes?

Jim Durkin: No.

Berkowitz: You don’t welcome Alan Keyes back into the fold, here?

Durkin: I think Alan should- he is more of a think tank person and I would hope he stays there.

Berkowitz: People say he has moved his operation to Illinois. Do you welcome him or do you think he should, perhaps, look for another locale?

Durkin: I think that he can raise the level of debate but I think that he is- he should not be a candidate for the Republicans again. [See, below, for an additional partial transcript of this show].
Jim Durkin, former Republican U. S. Senate nominee, recorded on November 27, 2004, is featured in tonight’s, Dec. 13, City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” [8:30 pm, Cable Ch. 21].
Jim Durkin[R- U. S. Senate Nominee, 2002], is featured in this Monday night’s [Dec. 13] City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs [8:30 pm, Cable Ch. 21]. Potential Gubernatorial, SOS or AG candidate Jim Durkin debates and discusses with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz issues relating to State GOP Chairman Topinka’s role in the continuing decline of the Republican Party, Judy Baar Topinka’s replacement as State GOP Chairman, Governor Rod Blagojevich’s policies re job creation and taxes, Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s performance and leadership, social issues and schisms in the Republican Party, abortion, same sex marriage and gay rights. An additional partial transcript of the show [previously published on this blog] is included immediately below.
Jeff Berkowitz: What about Andy McKenna, Jr. [for State GOP chair]... The business community seems to favor him…[The candidates for State GOP Chairman, as of Dec. 12, appear to be Andy McKenna, Jr., Steve McGlynn, Gary Skoien, Jim Oberweis, Jim Nalepa and John Cox. The Republican State Central Committee is accepting applications until December 31, 2004, but lederhosen clad people need not apply].

Jim Durkin: I like Andy. Andy can raise money. I think- my only consideration is that I don’t think it should be someone who is planning on running for office in 2006, and Andy’s name has been mentioned [for that]. I think we need somebody who is going to be completely focused on getting the [Republican] party moving in the right direction.

Berkowitz: Jim Oberweis-- the same problem, he might run for office?

Durkin: Well, exactly, and I think that’s a mistake.

Berkowitz: Ed Brennan [Executive Chairman of American Airlines and former Chairman and CEO of Sears, Roebuck], how would he be? Do you know Ed Brennan?

Durkin: I do know Ed Brennan.

Berkowitz: Would he be a good choice?

Durkin: I think Ed would be a fine choice.

Berkowitz: He is not running for office. He knows people with money.

Durkin: He is not running for office. If they can pull him out of American Airlines-but I am not sure if that is something he would consider.

Berkowitz: Why wouldn’t he consider that? He is raising money for the State GOP [State GOP Finance Chairman].

Durkin: I think he likes his position right now—raising money. I think he likes working in the corporate environment.
Berkowitz: The Democrats elect, I believe, their State Central Committee. The Republicans essentially have these people appointed by the committeemen in each [Congressional] district. Right?

Durkin: That’s correct.

Berkowitz: So, there is no direct election [of Republican State Central Committee members]. Should that be changed.

Durkin: Yes, it should.

Berkowitz: You support that?

Durkin: I do support that.

Berkowitz: What about Judy Baar Topinka? Does she support that?

Durkin: I don’t know.

Berkowitz: Shouldn’t she say?

Durkin: I think that would be important.

Berkowitz: What about Bob Kjellander [Republican National Committeeman from Illinois]? Does he support that? Shouldn’t he say?

Durkin: I think they should say. I think it is important because it is, a representative, you know, type of democracy and I think there has been some criticism within the Central Committee that a lot of them [the Committee members] walk too much in lockstep with the Chairman [Judy Baar Topinka]. I think this will open up the process. I think it will be healthy for the Republican Party to change that system.
Jeff Berkowitz: Say you are running against Lisa [Madigan, the Attorney General], what do you run on?

Jim Durkin: She is a tough one to run against. I am not sure-

Berkowitz: She has done a good job for the first two years?

Durkin: Well, I think she has done a respectable job. She’s-

Berkowitz: She kept a casino out of Rosemont-- Right?

Durkin: I would like to see where she is at on tort reform. She is the state’s lead legal officer.

Berkowitz: She hasn’t talked about tort reform?

Durkin: She hasn’t talked about it at all.

Berkowitz: You think she should?

Durkin: I think she should.

Berkowitz: You think she might not favor caps on personal injury awards [for non-economic damages].

Durkin: If I looked at her D-2s [list of contributors and contributions made to her campaign], I think she would probably say no and she would be as evasive as she could.

Berkowitz: What about casinos? Should she [AG Lisa Madigan] be taking a position on the Mayor’s [Mayor Daley] request to have a Chicago owned casino, Chicago controlled casino? She has taken all of that action [regarding] Rosemont. What about Chicago?

Durkin: Well, it would be consistent. She should be consistent.

Berkowitz: I asked her. She said, “Not my job.” [See blog entry, below, dated November 19, 2004 at 12: 15 am]

Durkin: Well, it was her job-- outside of Chicago it was, and still is, so I think she should step up to the plate and do the same kind of analysis and vetting that she has now done with Rosemont.
Jim Durkin, former Republican U. S. Senate nominee, recorded on November 27, 2004, is featured in tonight’s, Dec. 13, City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” [8:30 pm, Cable Ch. 21].
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at
Next Monday night’s show in the City of Chicago [on Dec. 20] features Pete Giangreco, Democratic campaign consultant and a principal at the Strategy Group.