Make no mistake my fellow Illinois Republicans, had it not been for the work of Jim Edgar and Bill Brady, we would not be facing four more years of Governor Rod Blagojevich. Only Judy Baar Topinka could’ve lost to Rod Blagojevich, and Edgar and Brady were the two men most responsible for her surviving last March’s Republican primary.
Edgar ran interference late last year with his “I may run, I may not run” act, which helped dry up fundraising for more deserving candidates. Then during the primary campaign he served as carnival-barker-in-chief and TV pitchman for Topinka.
Former Governor Jim Edgar’s legacy now has more substance than ever before. No longer will he just be remembered as the non-threatening guy with the nice haircut. (“Was he a Republican or Democrat?”) From this point on he will be the guy who helped give us the worst Republican candidate for governor in history. How else can you describe the woman who had as her big idea a plan to massively expand gambling across the state and put a casino in one of the most corrupt cities and counties in the nation?
Edgar, fortunately, is a part of the past. Bill Brady, on the other hand, is a man who we’re sure still sees a statewide candidate when he looks in the mirror. As for now, we’ll expect he’ll continue to be an invisible member of the state senate.
But no longer will Brady only be a guy with a smile and a sound bite. We will help Illinois Republicans remember him as the guy who helped give Judy Baar Topinka her primary win. He stayed in the race when he had no chance of winning only to help split the conservative vote so Topinka could win. For that, he has forever earned the nickname, “Spoiler Bill Brady.”
We’re still waiting for Spoiler Bill to produce those polls he was still claiming he had on Primary Day morning showing he was poised to win. Brady finished a distant third place. The simple fact is, Brady was never, ever even close to winning. And Brady knew it.
To put it another way – what was Jim Edgar’s and Bill Brady’s gift to Illinois in 2006? A candidate that is described as follows in two major Illinois newspapers:
Rockford Register Star, October 31, 2006, in their editorial endorsing Green Party candidate Rich Whitney:
“Judy Baar Topinka…has conducted a negative and unfocused campaign that doesn’t inspire confidence she could lead the state. Her main qualification is having a lower indictment potential than the incumbent.”
Chicago Tribune, October 31, 2006:
Blagojevich holds steady despite latest allegations
“Gov. Rod Blagojevich maintained a sizable advantage over Republican Judy Baar Topinka even as new corruption allegations surfaced involving his close supporters, a new Tribune/WGN-Ch. 9 poll shows.
A week before the election, the survey of 600 likely voters shows Blagojevich backed by 44 percent, Topinka supported by 29 percent and Green Party candidate Richard Whitney with 13 percent. Another 13 percent were undecided in the survey, conducted Friday through Sunday, which has an error margin of 4 percentage points…
Six in 10 voters, including 41 percent of those who said they were Democrats, said they believed Blagojevich had not kept his 2002 election promise to end political corruption in state hiring and contracting.
Yet when asked which candidate would do a better job of cleaning up government corruption, Blagojevich holds a 32 percent to 27 percent edge over Topinka. Another 29 percent said neither candidate would do a better job.
And when voters were asked which of the two major candidates was more honest and trustworthy, Blagojevich out-polled Topinka, 32 percent to 24 percent, while another 29 percent said neither one…
The poll found 48 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of Topinka, while only 28 percent had a favorable opinion of her.”
Thanks Jim. Thanks Bill. We won’t forget.
©2006 John Francis Biver