Friday, September 30, 2005

Marathon Pundit analysis: Jim Edgar won't run for governor, but Blagojevich should still be sweating

Despite press reports to the contrary, Illinois' Governor Rod Blagojevich is definitely vulnerable in 2006 when he's up for re-election. Former Governor Jim Edgar, a popular Republican from downstate Charleston, served in Springfield--when Springfield was still the state capital--from 1991 to 1999, announced this afternoon that he won't challenge Blago to get his old job back.

Edgar's legendary 1994 re-election saw him win 101 of Illinois' 102 counties. Even heavily urban (and Democratic) Cook County went red for Edgar, as Jim annihilated Democratic challenger Dawn Clark Netsch.

Blago's approval ratings are low. The multiple scandals in Chicago hurt Blagojevich in a number of ways. For one, even in Illinois, voters will tolerate only so much corruption. The convictions upon convictions in the ongoing investigation of Mayor Daley's City Hall will result in fewer "foot soldiers," both in the private and public sectors, participating in "get out the vote efforts" next year. Why? Because of a lot of them will still be in prison in November, 2006.

Also, an emasculated Daley Machine won't be able to throw around as "muscle" as it has done in the last few elections, as the focus among politicos even in 2006 will be on who will be Chicago's mayor in 2007. Will Daley be viewed as a "lame duck" next year, even if he makes it clear he'll be a candidate again? Daley was re-elected with over 80% of the vote in 2003, and unless Alan Keyes is his opponent, Mayor Daley will have to hustle --and be lucky--to get over the 50% threshold next time. If there is a next time.

Then there is East St. Louis, home of the local Democratic Party's "$10 per vote," incentive promotion last year. That racket won't be up and running anytime soon, as several Dems there, including the head of the East St. Louis Democratic Party, were found guilty of vote fraud and are likely headed to prison. Because of that, the Democrats can count on receiving several thousand fewer "sure thing" votes in East St. Louis than in previous elections.

Elsewhere in Illinois, cheaters may be looking over their shoulders, afraid the Feds will be drifting their gaze away from East St. Louis and Chicago, to their own counties and townships.

Vote cheaters, by the way, are almost always Democrats, despite what Jim Lampley has claimed in his comical Huffington Post columns.

Blago has numerous ethical problems, and to keep this post short, I'll only cite the most recent, his being implicated as the "Public Official A" involved in an Illinois teachers unions fund scandal.

More unions: The Teamsters and SEIU split from the AFL-CIO this summer. The union led voter-registration drives--concentrated in heavily Democratic areas--and their election day blitzes, won't be going away, but the efforts will be less concentrated, or perhaps overlapping.

The effect will be the same, probably fewer "safe" Democratic voters finding their way to the voting booth next November in the Prairie State. (And other states, too.)

Those union-led vote drives, viewed by many in the conservative media as ineffective, are looking at the end-result, shortsightedly, from a national perspective. They've have been very successful in Illinois and other heavily unionized states. Just because the White House and Conress is still contolled by Republicans doesn't mean that the political push for the Democrats by the unions has been futile.

Jim Edgar will not be running for governor. But the incumbent, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, should fear any Republican opponent.

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