December 12, 2005

IL-Gov: Running as a Team

The Illinois Republicans are getting serious in there pursuit of the Governorship. Republican candidates are choosing to run as teams through the primaries, rather than waiting until the nomination is secured and having the nominee then pick his lieutenant governor.

Turnaround Team: Gidwitz, Rauschenberger join forces
Calling themselves the Illinois GOP's "Turnaround Team," Ron Gidwitz and Steve Rauschenberger join forces against the frontrunner, Judy Baar Topinka.

Gidwitz is a moderate republican businessman with tons of money but not much political savvy. Steve Rauschenberger is a conservative republican state senator with tons of political experience but no money. Alone, they're both miles behind the GOP leader Judy Baar Topinka in the latest polls. Together, they hope to change that.

Rauschenberger is giving up his gubernatorial campaign to run for lieutenant governor on a ticket headed by Gidwitz.
Topinka picks Birkett to be her running mate
State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka is joining forces with DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett in an attempt to secure the Republican nomination for governor next March. [..]

The move is aimed at bolstering the moderate Topinka's appeal among conservative Republicans. Birkett is a foe of abortion and has conservative views on gun control and gay rights.
Oberweis wants Salvi to join governor ticket
Republican candidate for governor Jim Oberweis said Sunday that he has asked Kathy Salvi, a conservative intending to run for Congress in the north suburbs, to be his running mate.

Salvi, the wife of former state representative and attorney Al Salvi, is "honored and flattered" by Oberweis' invitation to be his lieutenant governor candidate, her husband said. She still plans to file election papers this week to run for the congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), Al Salvi said, but she is not discouraging Oberweis' efforts to include her as his partner. [..]

"She would be a great addition to the Republican ticket," Oberweis wrote. "She is smart, articulate, conservative and pro-life."
Republicans State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and Ron Gidwitz picked two more conservative running mates to shore up their right flank in the primaries. The conservative Jim Oberweis really wants to shore up this right flank by picking an other conservative. Alone these candidates are flawed against Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich in a increasingly blue state or not conservative in enough to win a Republican primary, in the case of Judy Baar Topinka.

In Maryland, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley picked Anthony Brown as this running mate. Two candidates for the price of one hold some advantages.
The most obvious advantage is that the time during which the ticket can double-dip--with two candidates, two spouses, two sets of fundraisers, two sets of campaign stumpers and two sets of volunteers--expands greatly, from just a few months during the late stages of the general election.

And, because there are inevitably some bruised egos or upset partisan elements that preferred other candidates, picking a running mate early allows O'Malley more time for mending political fences.
In Illinois, less conservative candidates can mend political fences while winning the nomination and go in the general election unified. Which will be best case scenario for State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and Ron Gidwitz to unseat Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Will Democratic Presidential candidates use this trend in 2008 in the primaries?
Fast-forward to 2008 and one could envision some major party presidential candidate employing this strategy, particularly if he finds himself stuck in second or third place behind an apparently insurmountable front-runner. Of course, this idea could also work for a perceived front-runner who can't seem to seal the deal because of some intra-party dispute…

Strategists all around the country, particularly those involved with 2008 presidential candidates, will be watching how this O'Malley-Brown experiment works in 2006. Some form of success--either victory in the primaries, victory in the general, or both--and it's sure to be copy-catted.


In Illinois, Governor and the lieutenant governor are not on the same ticket line. Both offices are elected independent of each other in the primary and the general election. Running as a team does not necessarily lead to both candidates winning the primary or general election.

I think in the general election if Judy Baar Topinka wins the Republican primary and Birkett wins the lieutenant governor primary. Birkett role will be to please the conservative base and to reassure them Topinka will govern from the right while Topinka play the role of moderate between Democratic Governor and Illinois Republican party. It will be a good tick if it works.

One problem, Conservatives can vote for Birkett or any other right winger without voting for Topinka in the Republican primary. Nothing to stopping them from voting for more conservative candidates for governor than Topinka. Why not have two lock step conservative running for Gov and Lt. Gov? Topinka will still have to move to the right in the primary to win it.


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