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Meeks looking for GOP support

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006

The saga continues.

State Sen. James Meeks asked a former Republican gubernatorial candidate to back his possible bid for governor Tuesday, while Mayor Daley defended Gov. Blagojevich’s record on behalf of African Americans after an ultimatum from several black aldermen.

Flirting with a third-party run for governor, the South Side pastor approached conservative state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) about supporting his potential campaign, but he got a thumbs-down from the third-place finisher in last week’s GOP primary.

“I’ve already committed my support to Judy in writing, and I’m a man of my words,” Brady said, referring to Republican gubernatorial nominee Judy Baar Topinka. […]

Undaunted, Meeks hinted that his political courtship of conservative Republicans may not stop with Brady and could extend to the GOP primary’s runner-up, Aurora dairy owner and investor Jim Oberweis.

“I’d be glad to have a conversation with Mr. Oberweis. I’d be glad to have a conversation with everybody who believes in the right to life and the sanctity of marriage,” Meeks said.

I’ve talked to Meeks and he seems pretty darned serious about this run. I had a piece on this in this morning’s Capitol Fax, now let’s hear your thoughts.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Sporty41 - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:28 am:

    It seems Rich, that you have answered my biggest question: Is Meeks doing this to gain bargaining power or is this truly for real?

    Any analysis welcome.

  2. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:35 am:

    So, lets say Meeks meets with Oberweis. State rules say Oberweis cannot run for Governor again in the same election as an independant. However, could he run for Lt. Governor with Meeks?

  3. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:36 am:

    Well, maybe Obie can be Meek’s Gidwitz, ie sugar daddy. Obie’s pure contempt for Judy (her combine/corruption) makes this possible. The only thing Meeks should be wary of is Bi-Polarweis’s(Tm) lack of respect for God. His little quip during the Got Straws campaign is telling. He told Brady “If God wanted you to be the candidate, it wouldn’t matter how many straws you got”. That reeks of desperation at a minimum and a disrepecting of religion if you want to dig a little deeper.

  4. - Backyard Conservative - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:43 am:

  5. - DOWNSTATE - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:46 am:

    He ain’t running as soon as Blago can figure out what programs he can shortchange and how much he will have to borrow plus a little butt kissing 6 billion will go to Chicago and Mr. Meeks will swear that Blago God’s right hand man and people of all races should vote for him.

  6. - grand old partisan - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:49 am:

    Here’s a thought: It may be true that conservative Republicans might share common ground with Meeks on abortion and other social issues. But it seems that in order to accept and support his entire platform, they’d have to accept and support policy positions and philosophies on school funding and welfare that they otherwise would not. So what is Meeks offering in return?

  7. - Marta Elena - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:51 am:

    I welcome a republican on the ticket to create a somewhat bipartisan group of candidates. However, stretching out to Obie might alienate the brown votes in this state.

    Meeks - I’m looking for a positive alternative to this general election - not a negative alternative.

  8. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:59 am:

    Probably he has more than one motive. Bargaining with Blago for whatever amount but what the heck, if he starts picking up momentum, being the guv is possibly the best way of getting money for his priorities.

    I am still unclear about the money. He wants six billion for education plus 1 billion for the black community or six billion for education plus
    four billion for the black community? How will the education money be used and which schools will get it. Will property taxes be lowered, especially in those communities which already tax themselves highly? Will the money for blacks go only to the inner city or to blacks in other communities including Cook suburbs, the collars and Downstate. What form will the race-based subsidies take? Will there be other race-based subisidies for other ethnic groups including whites? Will my income or sales taxes go up to pay for this?

    We need to know this stuff to evaluate his candidacy. Should be very entertaining when he starts addressing the details. If he is serious, that is.

  9. - Goodbye Napoleon - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 10:50 am:

    Has anyone done a poll yet with Meeks in the mix? That will be the factor that drives Blago’s actions in the next three weeks.

  10. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 10:54 am:

    Yes, he is serious, but courting the GOP vote is not the way to do it. GOPers have a history of supporting moderate fiscally conservative candidates, but not conservative fiscally liberal ones.

    He needed to have figured this out before this time, and it is not encouraging to see him at this point having these kinds of conversations. His approach to Brady suggests that he believes Brady to be a one issue candidate with no integrity. However, Oberweis has displayed enough opportunism to be approached.

    Unlike the Democrats, there doesn’t seem to be anyone capable of dealing with these egos in the Republican side, so that they can make any coordinated effort to handle Blagojevich’s empty campaign promises.

  11. - annoyed all the time - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 10:59 am:

    Truly what is Meeks offering except doing a money shuffle? Does he have any other plan? And where is he planning on finding this money? Why is it only a plea for the black community? Why not for the entire poor, under minimum wage population who are trying to get by safely day to day to provide to their children? I get so annoyed at grand plans with lots of talk and no true discussions of how to make things better, how to come up with good policy and proper funding mechanisms to make Illinois the greatest place to live. Let’s work together to figure this out and not make blatant bribes to get cash for the black community.

  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 11:21 am:

    Why don’t some of the very poor areas downstate that all lost jobs get any money? The black community has had tons of money dumped on it going back to the LBJ administration. Until people in that community start to prove they deserve it how can we continue to throw money at the problem. It’s not a matter of just lack of funding, the entire education system is broken in this state. I’m all for getting the black community up to a standard seen in other parts of Illinois, but it just isn’t this simple. Frankly, I don’t think any of the canidates including Meeks has a clue on how to really fix it. Of course Blago will likely cave anyways and then working families in Illinois will lose again!

  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 11:23 am:

    Man, Anonymous 11:21, that was a seriously bigoted comment. Stop now please.

  14. - Bubs - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 11:34 am:

    Meeks will get some support from the hard Right of the GOP, limited to those that could never support Topinka, either out of sheer spite or litmus tests on social issues. He will not get more than that.

    If he stays in until November, his candidacy is far more of a threat to Blago than to Topinka.

    You go, Rev.!!!

  15. - Budget Watcher - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 11:56 am:

    There’s been no indication that he has a full party slate of candidates, nor has he started any petition drives. Until I see some tangible indication that he’s serious, I’ll continue to view the potential candidacy as a coalition leader’s attempt to extract favorable policy concessions.

  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 12:46 pm:

    Here’s the deal with Meeks.

    I know come next February or March the governor of the state of Illinois will ask the legislature for a tax increase.

    Blago says he won’t, but he’s lied so much I have no faith in him.

    Topinka won’t say ’cause she doesn’t want to get clobbered by Rod’s ads. Still I expect a two-year income tax surcharge to be proposed and passed if she’s elected.

    The Rev. Meeks is at least honest. SB750 already outlines what he will do. Raise income taxes significantly and lower property taxes somewhat significantly.

    I’m a fiscally conservative voter, so who do I vote for if I “know” all three will end up raising my taxes?

    I’m already socially conservative so there’s a clear choice there.

    The new centrist party just won in Israel, maybe it’s time for Meek’s “Moral Center Party” to run in Illinois.

  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 12:47 pm:

    With the rise of independant voters and disaffection for status quo politics, the opportunity certainly exists.

    However, such an all or nothing risk is much better suited for a millionaire than an experienced sitting Senator.

    While very interesting, it sounds like posturing, but it might end up attracting a serious reform candidate.

  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 3:03 pm:

    I support Senator Meeks’ effort to increase school funding, but if he plans on being elected Governor, he needs to come up with a better plan.

    Meeks getting significant white Christian conservative support is as farfetched as Alan Keyes thinking he would get significant African American support. It sound good on paper, but is totally disconnected from reality.

    First question out of the box that Rev. Meeks will get from the Keyes’ conservatives: did you support Alan Keyes for U.S. Senate? Why not? And if not, why should we support you?

    Meanwhile, his talk of overturning Roe v. Wade and turning back the clock on equal rights for gays is driving away moderates who might otherwise support him.

    I can’t believe nobody has done a poll on this race yet, just for kicks, to find out how a generic three way would play out.

  19. - State worker - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 3:19 pm:

    I can see it now. Meeks running with Oberwise and why not throw in Allen Keys on their ticket to round up the gay bashing agenda. What a holy cast of clowns. I’m just thankful Judy will be a shoe in if that happens.

  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 3:21 pm:

    If my earlier comment came off as bigoted I am sorry. It was not intended to be at all, as I am no way a bigot. What I am trying to say is that simply raising taxed and throwing money at the problem is not the answer. What we need is new fresh ideas that we are not seeing from either party. Where we really need fresh ideas is out of the black community. Look at Jackson, whose best ideas are a new airport and a casino. We have to stop doing the simple fix solution, and start looking for real long term solutions. Clearly having an education system way too dependent on property taxes is a mistake. However, we cannot rob large amounts of money from other areas of the budget to pay for it, which is what Blago will do.

    We cannot allow this fight of race to continue, because when we do we all lose. How can anyone question that a reformer like claypool would actually be better for the black community, yet they all voted for the black guy. A black guy that only pays attention to the community when he needs to get himself elected. The black community needs to work together with the other communities around the state that have been left out. If the working people if Illinois cannot come together and find come ground, than we will all lose. A run for gov. by Meeks will do nothing but further divide this state.

  21. - Give me a break - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 10:53 pm:

    Meeks in. Judy wins. Game over.

    No neo con will back him regardless of his stand on pro life and gay marriage. Obviously his bargaining chip isn’t phasing the Gov because he’s too arrogant to see that Meeks will take the African American vote with him along with some ed funding reformers. Meeks supports helping to sustain those that are given life, the neo cons do not. Huge moral and ethical chasim there. How can one serve two masters - God and the Right Wing WHO DIDN’T WIN ANYTHING IN THE PRIMARY.

    Rev, as a moderate R please stay in. Judy needs to get in the beautiful office that no common everyday citizen is allowed in to. Judy would change that.

  22. - Tom Gordon - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 3:44 pm:

    Meeks would have to give up his seat to run, he wont do that, especially with it only 50/50 he would be able to win it back. This is all about attention.

  23. - Beowulf - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 10:10 pm:

    The GOP candidate that Reverend Meeks should be talking to is Steve Rauschenberger. Rauschenberger could still run for Governor and Meeks for Lt. Governor. That would pose one huge formidible opponent for both Blagojevich and Topinka.

    Rauschenberger still got about 30% of the GOP vote despite not getting one additional GOP vote for being aligned with Gidwitz. Rauschenberger’s vote totals were very impressive since he had zero support from the Illinois GOP Party and he did not have Judy’s coattails to ride on like Joe Birkett had. Say what you will, Rauschenberger still carries a large support from the conservative wing of the GOP.

    Couple Rauschenberger’s supporters with the large number of African-American voters that would throw their support behind Reverend Jim Meeks and you have one “deadly political combination” that could be turned loose in November against Blago and Topinka. They would be shaking in their boots if they had to face this Rauschie/Meeks team. Both Meeks and Rauschie have left their Christian faith determine their political views.

    I would guess that the Las Vegas odds makers would have a cardiac arrest trying to assign odds to the betting on the Illinois gubernatorial race with the sudden appearance of this third formidible tag team. It would be a “wrecking machine” like Rocky Balboa.

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