Saturday, December 18, 2004

Updated on December 18, 2004 at 11:00 pm.
Berkowitz on Tom Roeser’s radio program this Sunday night/ Gary Skoien takes on frontrunners for State GOP Chair Andy McKenna, Jr. and Steve McGlynn/Cong. Biggert and Pete Giangreco appear on "Public Affairs," this week
What do John McCain, Russ Feingold, George Soros,, Howard Dean, Jack Ryan, Judy Baar Topinka, Ron Gidwidz, George Ryan, Rod Blagojevich, Mike Madigan, George Ryan, Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama, Mark Kirk, the DNC, the RNC and so many, many more have in common?

They all understand that “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” And every politician is always saying, “Mama, gimme some more of that milk, please.” And, sometimes, believe it or not, they forget to say please.
Jeff Berkowitz [Host of the television show, "Public Affairs,"] is back on Tom Roeser's radio show as a guest this Sunday night [Dec. 19] with guest John Cox, a candidate for State GOP Chairman. The show is Political Shootout, WLS-890 AM, 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and it is on every Sunday night. You can call during the show [312-591-8900] to fire questions at Roeser, Cox or Berkowitz. The show has a broad geographical reach. Two weeks ago, when Berkowitz was on, they had callers from as far away as North Carolina.

Berkowitz would like to hear from anyone with Political Buzzzz for him to try to work into the show discussion or onto this blog. Anything people send or tell him, in this context, is not for attribution to them unless they indicate otherwise. Please try to listen and call in to the show, and ask your friends and contacts, Ds and Rs, to do the same and everyone- please send your Political Buzz to Jeff at
As of the moment, it appears that Andy McKenna, Jr. continues to be the frontrunner in the race for State GOP chairman, with support from the Illinois Republican Party Finance Committee, or at least a number of the individuals involved in raising money for the State GOP, aka the “money interests.” It is rumored that this means that legislators on the Republican State Central Committee (“SCC”), i.e., State rep. Skip Saviano, and State Senators Peterson, Dillard and Syverson are with McKenna. He who pays the piper calls the tune, so to speak. Cook County GOP Chairman Gary Skoien, who recently threw his hat in the race for State GOP chairman, assures me that not all four legislators are committed to Andy, but Skoien will say no more on that item. If they were, those four alone would give Andy a weighted vote of about 25%.

Also, McKenna apparently has the support of Cong. Mark Kirk [R- Highland Park, 10th CD] and Cong. Ray Lahood [R- Peoria]. LaHood was an early critic of Senator Fitzgerald and supported McKenna’s 4th place finish in the Republican 2004 U. S. Senate primary. Kirk is already counted in Peterson’s 6%, or vice versa. But, LaHood adds another 8.4% by his girl [or should we say Lady], 18th District Committeewoman and SCC Vice Chair Mary Alice Erickson, so if Andy does have all four legislators, that takes him up to 33%, or so.

Steve McGlynn, who told me [and the listeners] two weeks ago on Political Shoot-out that he had enough votes to win as of that time doesn’t want to identify to me who is supporting him. However, my reliable sources and operatives tell me that SCC members [and downstaters] Bob Winchester and Regan Ramsey are likely to be in Steve’s corner. They, along, with his own votes, would give him about 15% of the weighted vote.

That leaves some heavy hitter unknowns out there Petersen (11th ,7.1%),, Wiggins (14th, 8.2%), Clarke (15th, 8.5%), Smith(6th, 8.2%) and Dam (8th, 7.9%). If they are actually uncommitted as opposed to unknown, they, as a block , could be viewed as the “front-runner,” at 40%. And, of course, there also are the light hitters- Murphy, Diekelman, Preski, Perez, Dorgan and Meyer who, taken together total to about 12%. On the other hand, SCC member Dr. Dam thinks Clarke is in the McKenna camp. If so, that could bring McKenna to 41%.

Gary Skoien, who is an aggressive and articulate campaigner, will be working the above intensely, I believe, over the next 28 days, especially the “unknown” and maybe uncommitted heavy hitter block of 40% and the light hitter block of 12%, which if he “ran the table,” would give him a majority. Moreover, I think Skoien has a shot at some of the “legislators,” which some put in McKenna’s camp, currently.

Skoien told me yesterday, “Let’s face it, there are three different credentials being brought to the table here. McGlynn brings the credential of being on the State Central Committee and kind of one of that group. I bring the credential of having run successful political operations and having been a long time [Republican] Party person and knowing a lot of people around the State and I think having a pretty good track record. And, Andy comes to the table with the money connection. And, those are three very different credentials.”

Getting down to the knitty gritty of his campaign perhaps, Skoien told me that he thinks “the credentials that Andy [McKenna, Jr.] comes to the table with is the weakest of the three" [Skoien, McGlynn and McKenna]. Gary said that he “thinks it is discouraging to the people of the [Republican] party that somebody who has sat out the first 45 years of their life in the Republican Party now for some reason has this view that he needs to run [for office]. But, my bigger concern frankly is having somebody who has not clearly ever evidenced any willingness to take on- to take on people that should be taken on. And, I don’t know that the credential of having taken on [Senator] Peter Fitzgerald because he wasn’t cozy enough with people on O’Hare [airport] and the guys downtown is necessarily the right credential at this point in time for our Party, at all. You know, Andy is a bright, intelligent guy and I like him a lot, but I think that is just absolutely the wrong thing.”

Skoien told me that former Governor Jim Edgar is supporting his candidacy for State Chairman and that he thought Edgar would be willing to make some calls on Skoien’s behalf but that Skoien had not asked him that yet. Skoien worked with Jim Edgar when Edgar was on former Governor Jim Thompson’s staff in 1979-81. Skoien said Edgar and he talk a lot and Skoien had Edgar join the Board of his company, Horizon Group Properties. Skoien reminded me that Edgar was head of the Bush Campaign in Illinois and was quite engaged, arguing that Edgar is “more willing to help the Party than others.”

Skoien did not think that Jim Nalepa, John Cox and Jim Oberweis were really contenders for the State GOP chairmanship, but I will discuss those three individuals more in the upcoming days. Indeed, some suggest that Oberweis has dropped off the list. We will talk to Jim about that, as well. And, of course, John Cox might have something to say about this tomorrow night on the Tom Roeser radio show-- see above for details of that.
Congresswoman Judy Biggert [R- Hinsdale, 13th Dist.] is featured on the suburban edition of “Public Affairs” this week [Week of Dec. 20] and State Senator Peter Roskam [R- Wheaton, 48th Dist.] is on the following week. [Week of Dec. 27]. Sen. Roskam is very likely to run in the 6th Cong. Dist. primary if and when Cong. Henry Hyde decides not to seek re-election.

This Monday night’s City of Chicago edition [Dec. 20, 8:30 pm, Cable Ch. 21] of “Public Affairs,” features Pete Giangreco, Democratic Campaign Consultant and Partner, Strategy Group discussing why John Kerry lost, or why George Bush won, if you prefer it that way. Cong. Biggert, Sen. Roskam and Cong. Elect Dan Lipinski will be on in the following weeks, in that order.

The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is regularly broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

The suburban edition also is broadcast every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.
The City edition of Public Affairs airs throughout the City of Chicago every Monday night at 8:30 on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].
Finally, you can read more about the show with Giangreco in this blog, below. The Giangreco discussion and a partial transcript of the show are in the entry that was updated Dec. 13 at 6:25 pm.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at