Wednesday, December 07, 2005

And then there were four? or three?

The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson, in discussing the apparent Gidwitz/Rauschenberger merger, says

The move, expected to be formally announced Wednesday, would cast the March 21 GOP primary race as a four-person field, with two moderates and two conservatives.
Chicago Tribune, on line edition, December 6, 2005

But, maybe Rick has the restructuring wrong. The Republican Primary is starting to look more like doubles tennis, or maybe even tag team wrestling: Could it be Topinka/Watson v. Gidwtiz/Rauschenberger v. Oberweis/Brady. BTW, good-bye to State Rep. Raymond Poe, who had been runnig for Lt. Gov. for the better part of this year, if not longer.

Yes, we don’t know Topinka’s Lt. Gov. choice yet. Could be downstate conservative Republican Jim Watson. Could be Democrat Doug Whitley [Illinois Chamber of Commerce]. Could be downstate, former state legislator Duane Noland. Could be downstate state Rep. Roger Eddy. To make it easy for purposes of this discussion, let’s say Judy and her mentor/consigliore Jim Edgar pick Watson—and he probably is the most likely.

With Topinka hooked up with Watson and Gidwitz matched up with Rauschenberger, could a third marriage [or should I say union? Partnership] be far behind? Brady must realize he is unlikely to pass Oberweis or Topinka, or even Gidwitz/Rauschenberger.

And, Oberweis could use Brady. He would buttress any downstate support Oberweis has earned. Further, Brady softens the Oberweis rough edges. And, Oberweis is promising to leave the Governorship, if he wins it, after two terms. So, Brady could think he inherits the Governor’s mansion at the relatively young age of about 53. Not a bad deal for Senator Bill.

So, how does Gidwitz/Rauschenberger perform? Possibly all right. Does 4+ 7 =40? Maybe. First thing, they have to jell as a team. They have to be complementing each other more than contradicting each other. The abortion thing has to drop down in the issue list. The reform/anti-public corruption items have to show up high in the list. This will be a test of former Senator Pat O'Malley's theorem that the real schism in the Republican Party is between Reformers and those who want to continue the old way of doing business, and not between the Pro-Lifers and Pro-Choicers.

They have to work out the tax thing. Rauschenberger essentially pledged on my show not to raise the sales and the income tax. Gidwitz essentially dodged the question. They need to take the pledge, be done with it and then get the word out. No time to do a John Kerry, nuanced two-step.

There is more, but you get the idea. The Republican Guv Primary may have just been reduced to a field of three, with only one a team of pure conservatives, and two other teams of mixed moderates/conservatives. The Topinka advantage may have been reduced or lost-- If Gidwitz and Rauschenberger know how to build a team, a team that clicks. **************************
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at