The State GOP's leader
Borrowing a favorite chant of then presidential candidate, Barack Obama, it appears that the State GOP is "Fired up and ready to go." Further, by the end of Tuesday, it will become the party of diversity, at least when it come to having picked its leader. After all, the real leader of the state GOP, at least these days, is not the State GOP chairman, but it's gubernatorial candidate or Governor, when the party has one or the other. For the moment, the leader of the IL GOP is its Chairman, Pat Brady. But, that should change on Tuesday night, when the Republican Party selects its gubernatorial nominee from six Guv candidates in the Primary.
The Illinois Democratic Party's leader
As an aside, for the Democrats, it is quite different. At the end of voing on Tuesday, the Illinois Democratic Party will still have Pat Quinn as the Governor of the state of Illinois. And, either Quinn or Hynes will be the Party's nominee for Governor in the fall election. But, to paraphrase what former Alabama Gov. George Wallace and his fellow southerners used to say about segregation not so long ago, Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) is the leader of the Illinois Democratic Party "today, tomorrow and forever." Further, the life experiences of Madigan, Quinn and Hynes are quite similar-- each one has had most of his adult life devoted to running for and holding public office (with Quinn having supplemented his runs for office with an insatiable appetite for promoting referenda).
And, then there were Six
Back to the Republicans-- for most of the State GOP Gov race, the contest has had seven candidates. In the last two weeks, DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstron dropped out, leaving the State GOP with a choice from six: State Senators Kirk Dillard (Hinsdale) and Bill Brady (Bloomington), two term former State AG Jim Ryan (Elmhurst), very wealthy former State GOP Chairman Andy McKenna (Chicago), Media personality and political and PR consultant Dan Proft (Chicago) and wealthy small businessman Adam Andrzejewski (Hinsdale). .
The diverse wealth positions among the six GOP Gov candidates-- Did McKenna try to buy the election? Did he succeed?
Although not a very diverse field by race or gender, there was significant diversity among the Republican Primary candidates for governor, not even counting the diversity of ideas, which will be a subject of another post. First, in terms of wealth among the GOP Gov candidates, there was significant diversity. Although far from poor, Jim Ryan and Dan Proft most likely were on the low end of the GOP Gov candidate spectrum and McKenna and Andrzejewski were on the high end, with Dillard and Brady in between. McKenna's mega family wealth, even relative to Andrzejewski's at least partial (and perhaps mostly) self-made wealth, enabled him to spend lavishly, relative to the other five candidates, on TV ads during the last two months. Dillard and Ryan argued Andy "was trying to buy the election."
The Republican Gov candidates' diverse backgrounds: Politics or Business?
The Republican Gov candidates' backgrounds also were quite different, with Ryan, Dillard, Brady and Proft spending most of their professional careers in and around politics and McKenna and Andrzejewski spending the largest part of their professional careers in business.
However, McKenna's immersion in State GOP politics during the last six years, and longer when you consider his role as a funder of pols, made his claim as a "political outsider," a bit disingenous. Both Andrzejewski and Proft could claim, legitimately, to be true political outsiders in that neither has played a signifcant role in the IL GOP establishment.
McKenna and Andrzejewski, how they got to third base: Compare and Contrast .
Of course, even within these divisions, there are variations: As Proft said about McKenna (who essentially inherited much wealth and business stature), this is a guy who "started out on third and thinks he hit a triple." Andrzejewski, on the the other hand, staying with the baseball analogy started out selling peanuts in the bleachers and ended up hitting forty homeruns and sitting in the dugout as the team owner.
Senators Dillard and Brady: Compare and Contrast
Dillard and Brady have had similar tenures in the General Assembly, but Dillard spent his formative years under Big Jim Thompson and Republican icon Jim Edgar, the two Republicans who kept the Illinois GOP in the Governor's mansion for almost the entire last quarter of the 20th Century. Brady, on the other hand, has been heavily involved in maintaining and building a group of family real estate and other enterprises downstate.
Ryan and Proft: Compare and Contrast
Jim Ryan, the elder statesman in the group, has essentially been a life-long prosecutor or law enforcement officer. Dan Proft, the most junior member of the group at 37, has recently completed law school. However, Proft has spent the bulk of his adult life as a political campaign consultant, but with some significant time devoted to working in and around local and state government, and more rcently in the media as a pundit.
Competition: the patron saint of the consumer. Happy days are here again for the state GOP
All in all, it is a strong field for the Republicans: a strong, diverse field that provided healthy competition for the Party-- and the Republican voters are the beneficiaries of that competition and diversity.. As they say, "Competition is the patron saint of the consumer." Words to live by.
Of course, not all of the Repubican voters at the end of the day will be happy with their choice. Indeed, most likely 70 to 75%, if not more, of the voting Republicans will have preferred someone other than the Party's nominee. Nevertheless, almost all Illinois Republicans will happily stomp for the Party's choice when the alternative is Quinn or Hynes.
A choice, not a echo.
That is because the Republican Primary voters had a choice, not an echo. Choices in the diversity of their candidates relative wealth positions, how they got that wealth or didn't and their backgrounds in government, politics and business; choices in their varied experiences, their various skills and expertise and yes, last but not least-- beliefs and ideas (discussed in a separate, forthcoming post)
For the State GOP, this is not 2006. .
And, yet, at the end of Tuesday, this is not 2006. There are differences but they are not the differences of a Topinka and an Oberweis. They are the differences of a Mckenna and an Andrzejewski, of a Ryan and a Proft, of a Brady and a Dillard. These are candidates who can appeal to almost all Republicans and Independent voters. The November, 2010 election will not be about about Gays, Guns, God and Abortion, as Howard Dean once said. It will be about reform. And, all the candidates and almost all their voters say they are all about reform.
So, the State GOP, come Tuesday night, will be "Fired up and ready to go".You can make book on that. You can take that to the bank and collect interest. Yes, sir. Even though the banks may pass along that Barack Obama tax to you, the consumer-- there may be some interest left for you-- the depositor, the customer, the voter. No doubt, that's yet another reason why the Illinois Republicans are feeling, as Barack is wont to say, "kind of fired up and ready to go." Kind of ironic, don't you think?