Friday, May 13, 2005

GOP Wants Edgar to Run - Again

WBBM-TV, Ch. 2 in Chicago, the local See-B.S. affiliate here (so factor that in), is reporting that the GOP is pressing popular ex-Governor Jim Edgar to throw his hat in the ring and challenge vulnerable Democrat incumbent Rod Blagojevich for the right to get back in the Governor's chair.

Yes, they do seem to go running to former Gov. Edgar every election cycle only to get shot down, but this may be different.

Republican State Chairman Andy McKenna, Jr. said, “Why wouldn’t people encourage him? And to my knowledge he's not said ‘yes’ and he's not said ‘no,’ and what a wonderful thing for this party if he chose to do that.”

"I'll never say never," Jim Edgar said in a phone interview from his home near Champaign tonight. “But that's still a long way from saying yes."

Edgar has twice declined to run since retiring as Illinois Governor in 1999, but both times he was pleaded with to run for the U.S. Senate. Word has often been that a big part of the reason Edgar kept saying no was that he & his wife, Brenda, did not want to leave Illinois for Washington, D.C.. The Governorship would keep them more-or-less at home and provide a huge boost to the Republican Party's chances to re-energize themselves here.

Since Edgar left office, the Illinois GOP has gone to Hades in a handcart, largely due to the corruption linked to his unpopular successor (in both the Secretary of State's office and later the Governor's mansion), George Ryan. It's no wonder they would be working to recruit him. He would change the entire dynamics of the Governor's race from advantage Democrats to advantage Republicans. The question is, is Edgar willing to do it? Stay tuned...

UPDATE 5/15: The Chicago Tribune had some interesting news on the front page this morning, Governor's ratings tank; grand jury probes hirings

Winds of change may have put Rod Blagojevich in the governor's office, but a steady buffeting of allegations over mismanagement and "pay to play" politics have soured a growing number of Illinois voters on the first-term Democrat, a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows.

Blagojevich has generally enjoyed healthy approval ratings since taking office two years ago, but the survey found more voters now say they disapprove of the way he is doing his job than say they like it.

Perhaps even more troubling for Blagojevich, only one-third of voters say they want to see him re-elected next year while 45 percent say they don't, according to the poll.

The poll's findings came as an investigation by Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan and Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine, probing allegations that plum positions on state boards and commissions were traded for campaign donations to Blagojevich, entered the subpoena stage.

Sources close to the investigation said more than 20 grand jury subpoenas, seeking documents involving Blagojevich appointees, had been handed out by prosecutors....

...The job-trading allegations are but one of a steady series of problems that has sent Blagojevich's job approval rating crashing to 35 percent among the 1,200 likely voters surveyed in the Tribune/WGN-TV survey. Another 44 percent said they disapproved of the governor's job performance, while 21 percent had no opinion.

The poll, conducted by Market Shares Corp. of Mt. Prospect from May 5-10, has an error margin of 3 percentage points....

The poll has some disastrous internals for Gov. Blogojevich as well! Read the whole article!

Alexander K. McClure of PoliPundit has his eye on this as well.

I wonder what Mr. Edgar is thinking right about now, don't you?

UPDATE 5/16: Welcome Daly Thoughts readers! I would like to take this opportunity to thank the great Gerry Daly for the link!

The Chicago Tribune has more on a possible Edgar run. (Registration required.)

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