Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Topinka-Oberweis: A statistical tie?

Going into the election today, Team Oberweis saw Topinka ahead, but with Oberweis within the margin of error, trailing only by two points 28-26. They pegged Brady and Gidwitz as barely out of single digits, fighting to divide up an aggregate total for the two of 21 %.

That left the race to be decided by the quarter of the Republican voters who had yet to make up their minds and who Team Oberweis thought would break heavily their way, based on their grass roots GOTV [ID your voters and get out the vote] efforts and their saturation TV ads associating Judy with the George Ryan Pay to Play polka.

Although Jim has a shot, the smart money is still going with the Chalk and the Combine—The Edgar/Topinka/Kjellander/Brady organization. Two term governor Jim Edgar and RNC honcho Kjellander still have a lot of influential friends, who have a number of foot soldiers and county chairmen in their pockets.

KJ and Edgar, in very different ways, have a lot to lose if Judy can’t keep them in the game. KJ needs the connections of Judy as Governor to keep his insider money spigots open. Edgar and friends need Judy there so they can play out their second term Edgar dreams of tax swaps that never happened and Jim Edgar finally becoming the Education Governor he hoped to be, but never was. Jim looks at Topinka's election as a third Edgar term and Topinka doesn't mind that at all. Remember, Judy Baar Topinka never really wanted to be Governor. Last fall, Edgar was her first choice. Rauschenberger called her the "reluctant candidate."

KJ and his friend, Jim Edgar, are counting on the likes of Birkett and DuPage Republican Chairman Kirk Dillard to deliver a big vote total for Judy. That’s why KJ played footsie with Joe and Joe reciprocated [like Brady] with his 11th Commandment stuff about not criticizing other Republicans when conservatives begged for Joe to go after KJ. That’s why Edgar [and McKenna, apparently] recruited Birkett so hard. They need Republican vote rich DuPage to keep them in the game.

If Judy goes down for the count, Birkett can stop dreaming of sitting in the Governor’s mansion and Dillard’s deals become a whole lot less attractive. Brady gets to keep his Senate seat and be the lapdog for teachers’ unions, but downstaters outside of Bloomington will never give him another look if he loses his Edgar/Topinka/Kjellander leverage. And not many, if any, conservatives, not even Family-Pac Caprio, Illinois Review and former Illinois Leader Eaton and former United Republican Fund Chairman Newcom, will be spending much time with Brady anymore—not if his ally Topinka goes down in flames.

Bad weather in Springfield doesn’t help Judy. There is only so much snow and cold State workers and unions will put up with for Judy. The Oberweis downstate conservatives, on the other hand, don’t mind dealing with snow, when they think the culture, if not Western Civilization, is at stake.

Reports today are of a light vote in general, and not many women turned on for Judy [notwithstanding Lynn Sweet’s cheerleading for Judy]. Combine the light turn-out with Jack Roeser’s conservative, reformer base turned on for Oberweis, with a reasonably good statewide organization. That’s the Team Oberweis vision. Oberweis is definitely the underdog and up against the remnants of the Republican Establishment. But, Jim could pull it off. Maybe.