Sunday, October 02, 2005

Edgar, Blago & Cross: Reformers, Schisms & Corruption

Jeff Berkowitz: Governor, some people say that the schism in the Republican Party is not between Pro Life and Pro-Choice, but between reformers and non-reformers, do you agree?

Gov. Edgar: I don’t, I don’t. I hear that but I don’t think so. I am not sure any Republican says they are not a reformer. There are some who are “out,” and they complain about the people who are “in.” But, I don’t think that’s it.
Jim Edgar Press Conference, Union League Club of Chicago, September 30, 2005
Jeff Berkowitz: I am standing here on Friday, September 30 with Republican [House] Leader Tom Cross. [We] have just heard [former Governor] Jim Edgar say he is not going to be a candidate [for Governor]. Tom Cross, what does that do in terms of whom you are supporting for Governor in the Republican Primary?

Republican House Leader Tom Cross: No one has asked me for their support at this point.

Berkowitz: I can’t believe that.

House Leader Tom Cross: So, I am going to sit back and analyze the situation. Look at what is best for my Party and the Caucus-- and I think a Primary is good for our Party. We are rebuilding, we are a young Party in many ways and this is positive. I look forward to our rebuilding; our growth and we will see how things go.

Berkowitz: Are you leaning toward Judy Baar Topinka if she becomes a candidate, as is expected?

Leader Tom Cross: As I said a minute ago, I think a Primary is good. I haven’t heard from Judy on this, so we’ll wait and see what happens. I know a lot of these people. I know Bill Brady. I know Steve Rauschenberger. I know Jim Oberweis. I know Judy. We’ll just wait and see what happens.

Berkowitz: Do you think you might endorse at some point in the Republican [Gubernatorial] Primary?

Leader Tom Cross: I don’t know that I will. Again, I am going to see what’s best for my [Republican House] caucus and move from there.

Jeff Berkowitz: What do you think the chances are for the Republicans winning in the General Election against [Gov.] Rod Blagojevich?

Leader Tom Cross: I think there are a lot of vulnerabilities there on the Governor’s part. He’s increased spending huge amounts. He’s raided the pension funds in huge amounts. He hasn’t paid bills off in huge amounts. And, that’s from a policy standpoint. And, then there are some other issues out there that I don’t know enough about. I have just read [about them] in the newspaper. So, I think there is some exposure there. And, I think we can take advantage of those [issues].

Jeff Berkowitz: Will ending the culture of corruption—will that be the big issue in November [2006]. Will Rod Blagojevich be embroiled in that corruption, as has been raised?

Leader Tom Cross: It’s hard to tell. I think it is a matter of timing and how things are playing out around the state and around the City [of Chicago] and I think we’ll just have to wait and see.
Interview with Republican House Leader Tom Cross [R-Plainfield] as he was leaving Governor Jim Edgar’s Press Conference, Union League Club of Chicago, September, 30, 2005.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at