Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rauschenberger beating Blagojevich

Well, not exactly like a drum, but State Senator Steve Rauschenberger is beating the Governor [See here] by a point [Statistically, it is a tie, but the tie goes to the runner, who in this case is Steve]. Not the Governor who used to be [Jim Edgar], but the one who is [Rod Blagojevich]. Hat tip to Larry Handlin, aka Archpundit, who as usual, if it’s politics and it’s important to the Illinois or National political scene, it’s on his blog first.

This can’t be good news for State Treasurer Topinka, even though my guess [I don’t know for sure because I am not a Zogby subscriber] is that the poll didn’t include her in a match-up. But, even that is bad news for Judy Baar, as she is now following her fellow Republican moderate, Edgar, in doing the Hamlet bit “Should I run, or should I not.”

Demonstrating Hamlet is not just a moderate Republican sport, DuPage State’s Attorney Joe Birkett [a conservative Republican] is also asking that popular Edgar question, which the former Governor “drug out,”[as he might say] for months--“Should I run, or should I not.”

It is expected that both Topinka and Birkett will disclose their respective decisions within a week [Topinka] or days [Birkett], and both with much fanfare, but probably not with the tension and drama of last Friday’s truly touching Jim and Brenda show [See here].

I am assuming that a Birkett match-up was not included in the Zogby poll, perhaps because he, like Judy, is still doing Hamlet. [And, interestingly Birkett has said he would not have run if Edgar ran]. Or, maybe Birkett was in the poll and scored below State Senator Bill Brady’s showing: five points behind Blago. And, where, oh where, in the poll was dairyman and money manager Jim Oberweis?

Speaking of Brady, See here for an Andy Shaw ABC 7 News video which is interesting for its quip from Senator and Dupage Republican Chairman Kirk Dillard, "...[Topinka] is clearly the Republicans' strongest chance to unseat Blagojevich." Also, featured is Paul Caprio touting Sen. Brady. Caprio, captioned in the video as "Conservative Summit," has a pretty good shot of himself, but he tells us it is Brady who's "got a lot of charisma."

Although Shaw tells us that "a coalition of conservative groups has already endorsed Brady," the weight, breadth and credibility of that coalition- the Conservative Summit [See here]- is being questioned by various conservative leaders. For one, the vote for Senator Brady represented all of twenty-two votes, at a Summit which had extended 100 invitations, had 38 people attend and had only 26 people still present and voting when Brady was declared the winner, with some questions now being raised as to whom was really being represented at the Summit, which conservative groups were left out in the cold and to what extent is the vote binding on those groups and their members who were represented.

Back to the Zogby poll, it can't be good news for Gov. Blagojevich, who, on hearing about the Zogby poll, probably said, "What's a Rauschenberger."

Finally, this can’t be good news for the mainstream media, which would so much rather have a moderate Republican to cover. Who could blame them? The mainstream media know moderate Republicans, they like moderate Republicans, and doggone it, they are just more comfortable with them.

As the Chicago Tribune said way back in August of 2004 when Alan Keyes showed up on Illinois’ doorstep, what the Illinois GOP needs is a “pragmatic moderate conservative.” And, the Tribune went on to say, examples of same are Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar and yes, in that very mold—State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka.

So, the trick is—can State Senator Steve Rauschenberger wave this poll around to his Illinois gubernatorial campaign funders and say, “See, I can win.” Please write another check. And wave it around to his conservative supporters and say, “See, I am a conservative who can win.” Please write another check. And, wave it around to the moderate wing of the Republican Party and say, “See, I am a non-scary conservative, or as the Chicago Tribune editorial board would put it, a “pragmatic moderate conservative,” Please write another check.

Well, Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Rauschenberger might be able to pull off that hat trick, using this Zogby poll [conducted for the WSJ] to rake in money from funders in general, and from the conservative and moderate wings of the party as well. He certainly has said he is a “non-scary conservative.”

And, now for some reaction to the newly released poll from Dan Proft, let’s go to State Senator Steve Rauschenberger’s campaign guru:
Jeff Berkowitz: Do you think the mainstream media are going to have to start referring to Steve Rauschenberger as one of the leading contenders for Governor in the State of Illinois?

Dan Proft: Yeah, I think they will and we are certainly going to beat that drum. This is great validation to what we have known to be true and to some extent what we have supposed to be true, which is that Steve provides the best challenge to Blagojevich because he provides the most contrast to Blagojevich. And, if you want to give Illinoisans a choice, if you want to offer them a change—then what the Party needs to do is provide the most thoughtful, contrasting candidate possible and that is Steve Rauschenberger. And, I think you are seeing people desperately looking for a change and as people get to know Steve, they get to understand that he is the Anti-Blagojevich and that’s what they are looking for.
Phone interview with Dan Proft, Senior Adviser/Campaign Manager for the Rauschenberger Gubernatorial Campaign, October 4, 2005
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at JBCG@aol.com