Like a lot of election days, a mixed bag indeed (Part 1)

Yesterday saw both wins and losses for Republicans who want their party to return to its principles. I’m not sure a trend exists except to say that the old rules of politics still apply more often than not.

A friend reminded me to thank those good conservatives who stepped up to run for office. I can think of three individuals that I know personally who worked their butts off. Two of them lost and one won. Supporters of limited government and traditional values owe them a debt of gratitude.

When turnout is as low as it was, you can’t say that voters are steaming mad about anything. A lot of citizens might be, but if they’re not voting, then they aren’t steamed enough to do the least little bit to help bring about needed reforms.

And you can’t say that the energy from 2009’s TEA (tax enough already) party and 9/12 Project folks has translated into real political action here in Illinois. Sure, there are exceptions. My guess is that Congressional candidate Joe Walsh in the 8th c.d. created and then rode a wave to victory in a crowded primary against a several very good candidates.

We don’t yet know who the GOP governor nominee is. Last I looked it was 500 votes separating Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard. It was very good to see Andy McKenna lose – it was one of the highlights of the day.

Young Lt. Governor candidate Jason Plummer looks as if he defeated Matt Murphy. Murphy looked quite shell-shocked on TV last night. The coronation he thought was his due was undone by a twenty-seven year old. I have to say that was another bright spot yesterday.

Those of us who know how age can bring altitude when it comes to seeing more of the territory of life clearer – hope that Mr. Plummer keeps good, older advisors close by. Opportunities for missteps come daily in politics, and if he’s going to uphold his commitment to fight for reform he will have to say no to a lot of powerful people who continue to be a part of the problem in the Illinois GOP.

Like four years ago, Judy Baar Topinka survived the primary. Twenty years of building name i.d. has its advantages. By November, however, it’s a safe bet that general election voters will remember once again that it’s time for her political career to be “put down,” as one wit told me late last night.

Mark Kirk, unfortunately as expected, was able to hold off the challenge of Pat Hughes, who had become a very good candidate down the stretch. If Illinois conservatives are smart, they will find a way to keep guys like Hughes and Dodge engaged and recruit others like them. Like Jim Dodge, Pat needed more time and money.

Congrats to Randy Hultgren for ending the Hastert dynasty in the 14th c.d., and kudos to political consultant Jon Zahm for recruiting Randy into that race. Congrats to state Senator Chris Lauzen for his huge, much deserved victory. As one observer noted towards the end of that campaign, even some local liberals were endorsing Chris because they had to admit he had been right all along about the state’s fiscal mess.

Every race has to be interpreted based on its own dynamics. A lot of different interpretations are of course possible and a lot of dishonest spin will be in the air for the next 72 hours or so.

Up next: Part 2.

©2010 John Francis Biver