Saturday, March 11, 2006

Oberweis closing in on Topinka

Revised at 8:50 pm on Saturday night.

The big news of the day is that businessman Jim Oberweis is closing on Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary[Topinka’s lead is down from 38%-17% [Chicago Tribune Poll of about six weeks ago] to 36% - 25%. Civic Leader/businessman Ron Gidwitz and downstate State Senator Bill Brady also move up to 19% and 11%, respectively, with 8% undecided. This is from a new St. Louis Post Dispatch, KMOV-TV poll that was taken during Monday-Wednesday of this week, which is after most of the reporting of the Oberweis highlighting of the Marty Kovarik stuff, which the mainstream media speculated was hurting Oberweis.

Another loss for the MSM- unless they want to argue that Oberweis was doing even better before he promoted the Marty Kovarik criticism of Judy for allegedly shredding public documents, as well as the issue of Judy’s alleged romantic involvement with her former deputy Treasurer Kovarik in the mid 90s, which no doubt was only coincidentally around the same time as the Republican revolution in the U. S. House, a revolution that swept across the country, but flew over Illinois .

Rich Miller, a virtual monopolist in the market of comprehensive, quick and in-depth reporting on state and local politics in Illinois with his “must read,” hard and blog edition of Capitolfax [see here] and his now apparently new Sun-Times column, seems to have been first, again, to get the poll on his site, and he has already talked with the pollster, clarifying some ambiguities. Doesn’t Rich have a life? Or, is this it? Miller may lean left, but he is one hard working, very connected, political print media dude.

The second big news story of the story is that Topinka’s lead may be narrowing, but her lead is statistically significant. She has an eleven point lead and the margin of error is 4.5% [See here generally for a discussion of margin of error].

The third big news story of the day is that Brady is now to the point where he can reasonably be viewed as perhaps preventing fellow conservative Oberweis from winning. If much of his 11% were to go to Oberweis if Brady withdrew, then Oberweis is within striking distance of Judy, and indeed, Judy’s lead could probably not be reported as statistically significant. Even left of center Rich Miller essentially agrees with this conclusion in yesterday’s Capitolfax hardcopy edition[“some on the right believe that Brady’s candidacy is helping Topinka by splitting the conservative vote” and “they may very well be right on the result of his candidacy.”].

On the other hand, Miller seems to disagree with those “on the right that [believe] that Brady’s candidacy has been at the very least tacitly approved by the [Republican Establishment] powers that be.” Rich doesn’t say it but some knowledgeable Illinois political observers and participants, and not even just those on the right, believe that the “powers that be who approve of Brady’s candidacy,” include Judy’s mentor- Jim Edgar-- and Jim’s and Judy’s friend, Bob Kjellander [who Judy points out she doesn't exactly "speak to every day" ].

Although, during the crisis days of Jack Ryan's implosion as a U. S. Senate candidate, Judy Baar Topinka may have spoken to Kjellander frequently, as Kjellander was an influential State GOP figure and adviser to Judy when she was State GOP Chairman-- and Bob Kjellander answered questions with Judy at a press conference she called in Chicago in the first few hours after Jack Ryan announced on June 25, 2004 that he would withdraw as a U. S. Senate Senate candidate.

Kjellander is, of course, Illinois’ RNC honcho and the conservatives' and reformers' most despised member of the Illinois Republican Establishment.

Yes, Brady recently changed his position in the Tribune Edit Board discussion with the candidates and called for Kjellander to step down from his Illinois RNC position. But, if you were Edgar and Kjellander and you wanted Brady to drain votes from Oberweis, and you thought Oberweis was getting close to Judy, you would perhaps want Brady to call for Kjellander to step down.

Boys and Girls, you have to learn how to think like the old Daley Ryan Combine did and does, or so the people who take the above position say. Of course, the component members of the civic/ business/political elite that make up the Daley Ryan Combine shift around from time to time. George Ryan is, of course, temporarily detained on other matters, but Governor Blagojevich is ready to fill in. And, of course, Republican National Committeeman Kjellander will belly up to the bar from time to time and get into the Game. Is Jim Edgar a player? It depends on who you ask? Dr. No joining up with big spender Dick Daley and all that fighting over Meigs, etc. What can I say, politics makes for strange bedfellows and so does the Combine.

The fourth big news story of the day is that Rod Blagojevich has a big gender gap with men, or a very favorable gender boost from women, depending on how you look at it [Ok, this is not a news flash, but it is a striking part of the poll]. Moreover, even Judy’s gender doesn’t seem to help this much. Nor do her “moderate,” views on abortion help her [she would not favor overturning Roe but she does favor “parental consent,” and bans on partial birth abortion [although with a health and life of the mother exception]. For example, Judy trails Rod by 7 points, but for men, she is only 2 points behind, and for women, it is a deficit six times larger, 12 points.

Oberweis trails Blagojevich by 18 points, but for men, he is only nine points behind, and for women, the deficit is three times larger, 27 points.

How to explain the Gender Gap/Boost? Rod’s good looks? The Elvis thing? His 1000% Pro-choice on abortion and ancilliary women's issues? Blago's populist focus on health care [All Kids] and education [Pre-school for all]? Health Care and Education are thought to be women's issus. A few years back on the federal side, the "She," issues were Social Security [S], Health Care [H] and Education [E]...Now I've sung my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me. Fighting Wars, National Security and anti-terrorism are, of course, the province of men--pre Hillary, that is.

For the answer to Rod's lopsided success with women, ask my good friend and Blago spokesman/message man/direct mail guru Pistol Pete Giangreco. He knows this stuff really well. That’s why they pay him the big bucks.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at