IL-Gov: Edgar & The Leftovers
Dennis Hastert and the rest of the Illinois GOP was left at the altar by Jim Edgar in 2004 so they married Alan Keyes. Now their begging might have worked, Jim Edgar is acting like a candidate for Governor.
Sounding more and more like a candidate for office, former Gov. Jim Edgar said Monday that a decision about his political future should come "very soon" — perhaps within the next few days.CW of Illinois GOP sees Jim Edgar as their great hope to turn Illinois red but, a few leftovers candidates are not going to step down and coronate Jim Edgar.
Edgar, who served two terms in the Executive Mansion last decade, has contended for months that he hasn't determined whether he wants to run against Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2006. He stuck to that story Monday, saying the chances are still "50-50."
"This is how you make a decision," he said. "You don't do it quickly and then find out later that you have to change your mind."
But during a speech before more than 400 people at a luncheon sponsored by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, it would have been easy to mistake the former Republican governor for someone already in the midst of a heated campaign.
One of the leftovers, State Senator Steve Rauschenberger was endorse by former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald.
State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger, for one, announced Monday that his candidacy had been endorsed by former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald — a key figure within the party's conservative wing.With Jim Edgar entrance into the race overshadows the rest of the GOP candidates. Jim Oberweis is a multi-times failed candidate. Steve Rauschenberger does have conservatives base, but no appeal to middle and the rest (Ron Gidwitz, Judy Baar Topinka, Sen. Bill Brady and Joe Birkett) of the leftovers might get scared of the shadow and run away from the race.
Fitzgerald, who served one term in Washington before stepping down last year, called Rauschenberger a "thoughtful, independent, honest leader (who) knows the issues better than anyone and will continue my efforts to clean up state government."
Despite speculation to the contrary, Rauschenberger also reaffirmed Monday that he will stay in the race regardless of Edgar's decision, as did Aurora dairy owner Jim Oberweis.
"I plan to be in this until next November," Oberweis said. "I'd welcome him to the race."
Other Republicans either running or considering a run include Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz, state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, downstate Sen. Bill Brady and DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett.
A primary battle with be good for Edgar to sharpen his campaigning skills. On the Democratic side Gov. Rod Blagojevich has no opposition, yet. I for one was hoping Paul Vallas head of the Philadelphia Public Schools and former Democratic candidate in 2002 will run against the Governor, but it seem Blagojevich will get a pass. The Governor is going to have a tough race against Edgar, but it is still very winnable.
One person is not going to save the Illinois GOP, it is a weaken party. Golden Boy Edgar might wish he has stayed away from GOP advances.