A few weeks ago all the political junkies were strategizing about how their favored candidates would win party nominations or the Illinois governor’s office.
Lisa Madigan’s decision that she will run for re-election as Illinois attorney general has quieted much of that talk. Madigan was thought to be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination if she ran for governor. There are no shoo-ins in either the GOP or Democratic fields now.
Gov. Pat Quinn has the power of incumbency and the fact that he’s not Rod Blagojevich going for him in the Democratic campaign. Quinn has been an outsider most of his political life, but also has labeled himself a reformer.
His biggest rival so far is Comptroller Dan Hynes whose father was a prominent Chicago politician as well. Hynes too has a chance to point out his “fiscal watchdog credentials, and may remind voters that he bumped heads with Blagojevich during some years when Quinn was silent as the lieutenant governor.
Sen. Bill Brady is considered one of the more prominent Republican hopefuls. A real estate developer from Bloomington, Brady ran for the GOP nomination three years ago and drew solid support. However, he has not jumped out to a commanding lead in this year’s race so far.
Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale has credentials from his service in the Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar administrations. He’s being supported by some business leaders. But Dillard’s 10-second appearance in an Iowa primary advertisement for Barack Obama may hurt his chances.
Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine raised $21,000 toward his gubernatorial bid during the first six months of the year. He has hired top notch campaign consultants and is trying to build a support network with fellow attorneys.
Dan Proft, a radio commentator, has made a splash with the state’s most conservative Republicans. Fund-raising so far has trailed others in the GOP field.
Robert Schillerstrom, the DuPage County GOP chairman, heads up the largest block of suburban Republicans in the state. He still must become more than a name, however, to people from downstate.
Adam Andrzejewski is a 40-year-old millionaire who sold his publishing interests and founded www.forthegoodofillinois.org Although he is a political novice, Andrzejewski has been putting together the type of on-line campaign network that may become the norm for statewide or national campaigns.
Other possible candidates continue to be mentioned, but have not yet made their intentions known.
Without a clear front-runner, the governor’s race so far is not easy to forecast.
Everyone knows the Republicans will campaign on the damage done by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the failings of other Democrats who now control the state. Democrats will point out that they’re not Blagojevich.
Voters and campaign donors have yet to speak in large numbers.