Monday, October 24, 2005

The Topinka Watch: Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica [R- Riverside], running for Cook County Board President in an uncontested Republican Primary, announced last night on Tom Roeser’s Political Shoot-out radio program [the fastest hour in radio] that State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka would have a press conference today at 1:00 pm. Peraica also predicted that his “neighbor and good friend- Topinka,” would announce she is not running for Governor. Peraica said he would support Judy if she does run for Governor, notwithstanding his differences with her on her "moderate," stands on "social issues," e.g., gay rights and abortion.

Peraica was contradicted this morning by Dave Loveday, a spokesman for Topinka on political issues, who said that Topinka is in Quincy today and would be making no announcement today, and he doubted she would be doing so tomorrow as she will be downstate then, as well.

Loveday said Topinka is “struggling,” with her decision. She wants commitments from Washington and elsewhere that she would have enough money to deal with Gov. Blagojevich’s treasure chest once she came out of the primary. It is expected the Governor will have 25 million dollars, or so, to define his Republican opponent, and Judy remembers how Governor Edgar defined Dawn Clark Netsch when she came out of a tough Democratic primary in 1994. It wasn’t pretty. For Dawn, that is.

Loveday, previously the press guy for the RTA, said Judy is confident she can win the Republican Primary, based on the existing field of Republican gubernatorial candidates. Loveday would not "speculate," when I asked him how comfortable Judy is that she could win, if the field narrowed to one or two conservatives, as opposed to the currently three, and possibly four, conservatives in the Republican Primary. [See here].

Loveday said this is a tough decision for Judy, in that her supporters know she wants financial commitments, and they keep coming up to her and ask, “How about this? Will that work?” So, she struggles as she asks herself, “How about that.” As always in Chicago politics, it is a matter of the “dees and dats”
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at