However he may have the support of one man who may not have found it in his best interest to help re-elect Blagojevich, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. His support may help insure that the Governor may not face any serious challenge in the primaries. Either way a Blagojevich re-election may be a tough sell. In addition there are some indications that he may not have the loyal support of the black community that he had in the last election. He does however continue to have the support of Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, who just so happens to be black.
Now I must go the Republican side. Anyone who is a reader of this blog and lives in the state of Illinois should not forget about the fiasco with Jack Ryan. Jack Ryan was forced to remove himself from the ballot when divorce documents were opened by court order and revealed some rather damaging allegations. The party withdrew its support and went with Alan Keyes. Needless to say the election was lost and so many black folks believe Keyes was nothing less than a tool for the "evil white Republicans".
In Republican/Conservative circles in the state, there have been complaints of a lack of leadership and that Republicans have failed to develop their bench and train new leaders. There is also an insistence that the GOP are ruled by Republicans in Name Only who may easily go hand in hand with the Democrats in Illinois. With the corruption issues involving Gov. George Ryan and his shenanigans as secretary of state and the city of Chicago can one say neither party is truly clean.
So this brings me to my next point. Our fomer Governor, Jim Edgar. I have been convinced thanks to a column from Chicago area political columnist Russ Stewart that he may be the GOP's next best hope. The Blagojevich campaign thinks he's a threat. So there may be something here. In Stewart's column a connection is made betweent the emerging story of retirements of Republican senators in the state senate where there is a potential for the Democrats to gain a larger majority there. According to Stewart...
The bottom line: Republicans need to be focused in 2006, and that focus must be to beat Governor Rod Blagojevich. With Edgar as their nominee, Republicans will be unified and focused on beating the governor, and all other divisiveness and quarreling will diminish. With another nominee, that won't happen. What will happen is a further diminution of the Republican legislative minority.
This is what the IL GOP needs. Of course there is some bellyaching amongst the Faithful that Edgar is just fooling around with this. There are already candidates in this race. The longer Edgar plays around to do nothing less than later on say, he's not running, the more likely the GOP could lose against Blagojevich. What I also hope is that Edgar gives some voice to new leadership in his party. I also hope he understand that things have changed since 1998 his last year in office. The internet has become an important tool in politics which can serve to either help the cause or hurt the cause.
Either way I don't see Edgar's possible candidacy as an issue but I'd accept it as an opportunity. He is a known quality and not only that he doesn't have the stench of corruption swirling around his head. Hopefully the next leaders in Illinois will come from the Edgar administration if there is destined to be a third Edgar term.
JOHNSTON: The Edgar Watch Getting Close to Endgame