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Catching on? - Updated x1

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The DC pundit crowd may finally be getting an inkling of what’s about to happen here.

Charlie Cook has revised his rating of the governor’s race from “Likely Democratic” to “Lean Democratic.” There’s a link to a subscriber-only story on his website entitled “Blagojevich’s Early Spending Can’t Fend off Topinka’s Challenge.”

Meanwhile, the National Journal’s latest ranking report had this to say

14 ILLINOIS Rod Blagojevich (D) Last Ranking: 14

Blagojevich could be vulnerable, and the national GOP appears interested in giving this race a go.

There’s more to that story. CQPolitics has the race at “Leans Democratic.”

* UPDATE: I don’t put a huge amount of stock into Chris Cillizza’s “The Fix” blog at the Washington Post, but a commenter pointed this out and I do agree with much of what he writes here.

14. Illinois: If Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) felt comfortable about his re-election this fall, he wouldn’t have spent more than $5 million to define state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R) before she had a chance to do it for herself. Topinka is now up on television. Let’s see if the commercials move any polling numbers. This is an opportunity for Republicans, but the cost of going full-bore on behalf of Topinka may ultimately be too high. (Previous ranking: 15)

posted by Rich Miller
Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 6:12 am


  1. One tv ad and everyone now sees how terrible Rod’s record is. When JBT’s ad campaign starts detailing all the corruption and self serving deals made by Rod, and how the citizens of Illinois have been played as suckers, people will run away from him like he is on fire.

    I can’t wait!

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 6:30 am

  2. “…an inkling of what’s about to happen here…”
    You must be talking about the Blagojevich landslide that is about to happen in 59 days.

    Comment by Bill Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 6:42 am

  3. Bill, that’s not what I meant.

    Comment by Rich Miller Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 6:44 am

  4. Bill, put your partisanship aside for one blessed moment, please, and tell us all - do you not read the papers or listen to television or radio? Do you have NO contact with anyone who works for state government? They are in the front lines of what is happening with this administration and if they risk their jobs to let people know what is going on, why would you doubt them? Do you think that the governor is incapable of doing the things they describe, such as raiding pension funds and using state resources to promote himself for reelection, etc. Do you really believe that people give him all this campaign money and are getting nothing in return? No one gives money away in those amounts without some expectation of payback.

    We all know you think he walks on water, but no one is as perfect as you seem to think the governor is. Open your mind a little, man, and let some fresh air in. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    Comment by Disgusted Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 6:49 am

  5. Bill - I think that you have forgotten that Public Official A used lying, termed “classic political puffery”, during the last campaign as legal defense. If this the kind of man you want as governor? Someone who can’t be trusted to tell the truth? I don’t.

    Comment by Huh? Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 6:53 am

  6. If JBT wins this thing, her supporters may not enjoy the hiring and contracting process. The game has changed so much in the last 5-6 six years with the feds and the media going over every last detail of who gets hired and why, what they think they will be able to to (like they did for 26 years) simply won’t be feasable anymore.

    The more JBT pounds the issue of hiring is not going make it easy to get rid of Dems. in postions. How can she get rid of even exempt staff when she is making the case that party politics should not matter. She will love dealing with the GOP County Chairman about this. And it should fun watching her try to explain to the media why people are getting fired just because they are not GOP members and why GOP members are the ones getting hired.

    The game has changed folks, if she wins, her supporters will find out real quick.

    Comment by Anon Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 7:04 am

  7. Disgusted,
    What I read in the papers and hear on radio is that the governor’s opponent is against health care for veterans, against raising the minimum wage,against pre-school for children, against health care for children, and wants to pander to public employees unions by promising them $33 million in raises while cutting $2.9 billion from health care for the poor.
    Put your partisianship aside and look at the issues. Forget about where Rod lives, his hair, and the whining of your co-workers and vote for the peoples candidate from the peoples party, Democrat Rod Blagojevich. The governor thinks that all Illinois citizens should have the same access to health care that he and all state employees have. Unlike Judy, who called raising the minimum wage ,”a giant give away”, Rod thinks that people who do the real work should reap just a tiny little bit of the benefit even if it means that the CEO’s make a couple of million dollars less. Not all of the state employees hate Rod, just the holdover patronage hires that used to have special status gained by kicking in for Ryan’s Xmas gifts and buying tickets to Pate Phillip’s fundraisers. Now, those employees are being expected to work for a living and I guess that they resent that.
    I’m sorry, the above are real issues. I lost my head. Let’s get back to hairdo and Elvis jokes.They are funnier and might even divert attention from some of the really hurtful and harmful Bush-Topinka plans for the future.

    Comment by Bill Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 7:11 am

  8. 7:04, alot of people know exactly how much the game changed when the Chicago Democrat Machine took over.

    I, for one, will be thrilled to have a governor who plays by the State of Illinois rules, not the Chicago Democrat Machine rules.

    I say, tighten the hiring rules as tight as possible.

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 7:14 am

  9. “Put your partisianship aside and look at the issues” yourself, ‘Bill’.

    Borrowed $10 bbbbbillion dollars to solve the pension mess (huh) and then steal $2 bbbbillion of that to…..what exactly did BLah-Blah do with that money, ‘Bill’?

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 7:17 am

  10. The Governor’s race is going to get very interesting. I think some real surprises are around the corner because Rod has peaked but Judy hasn’t. Either one of them can win this. JBT is going to make this a close race. She may not win, but I believe it will be very close.

    Comment by Jechislo Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 7:20 am

  11. He used the bond money to bring public employee pension plan funding up from 43%of liabilities to 60%. He used the other 2bbbbbillion to pay down the part of the 5bbbbbillion debt left by Ryan. That issue proved to be quite lucrative with rising rates. He probably should have sold more but couldn’t get past repub obstructionists in the Senate.

    Comment by Bill Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 7:25 am

  12. Bill -

    So Rod’s $20 bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbillion in borrowing to pay a 5 billion dollar debt is effective management?

    How much is all that borrowing going to cost your kids and mine? $40 bbbbbbbbbbbbion? $50

    Oh, that’s right. That’s the next governor’s problem.

    And, Bill, what is the debt now? $5 billion dollars. Illinois citizens have nothing to show for all that borrowing - except debt.

    Comment by One of Rod's Suckers Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 7:48 am

  13. I don’t know why people keep responding to Bill.By his comments he doesn’t care or doesn’t know about reality.It looks more like he just wants to be disruptive so people on this site are unable to have a civil discussion.Either he is trying to hide all of Blago’s screwups or he is mad at Rich Miller for being sucessfull.Just like he is saying a landslide Blago is 8% ahead in the polls and that is a complete oppisite of a landslide.

    Comment by DOWNSTATE Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 7:53 am

  14. Maybe my English is not up to par, but I keep looking for the “lean Democrat” among all those fat politicians. The gravy train keeps on rolling for the Governor and the legislature to dispense with golden ladles.

    Bill — if you didn’t notice, the Pension bonds also funded two current years of contributions, not just the investments to future pensions. That gave the governor and the legislature the ability to spend more money and avoid an income tax increase.

    Comment by Truthful James Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:05 am

  15. Downstate,
    I certainly am not mad at Rich, he is one of my favorite columnists and I appreciate the forum that he provides. While you may think supporting the governor and trying to maturely discuss issues is uncivil because my views apparently are different from yours, I think discussing health care, workers rights, education, state finances, much more beneficial than Hairdo and Elvis jokes, calling the state’s highest elected official Blah-Blah, and making unsubstantiated claims that the governor is a criminal and going to jail.
    Supporters of the governor don’t need to make fun of his opponent however tempting it may be, she does a good enough job of that on her own.
    However, in the interest of not being “disruptive” and because some of us still actually have to work for a living, I’ll yield the floor to the Blago haters for a while.
    So have your fun. We will be the ones laughing on election day. We’re STILL waiting for you, Judy and Fitz to……
    Bring it on!
    Bring it on!

    Comment by Bill Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:12 am

  16. Bill it’s possible that you might want to lay low today.

    Comment by Rich Miller Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:18 am

  17. Rich,

    I think it’s possible that you consider having Bill lay low off of this site until after the election. It’s clear the guy is working for the Gov.’s campaign, and can’t allow any actual mature discussions to take place.

    just my 2 cents, and I know others are getting fed up as well….

    Comment by Anon Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:34 am

  18. Bill is free to say what he wants, and I strongly encourage him to do so. But daring Fitzgerald to “Bring it on” today might be a little foolish.

    Comment by Rich Miller Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:36 am

  19. I’ll second that. It’s very hard to have a serious discussion of an issue when you have an individual either a) light a fire at the outset and keep relighting it with more inflammatory comments, or b) interrupt a discussion with nonsense. If he’s going to be around, we’ll just ignore him.

    Comment by NumbersGuy Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:42 am

  20. but do we honestly need to have to sort through the Gov.’s campaign ads just to keep up a discussion? seriously

    it’s getting ridiculous

    Comment by Anon Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:42 am

  21. i can’t imagine any day where it’s appropriate to taunt fitzgerald, especially here in illinois…

    Comment by bored now Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:43 am

  22. I’ve been trying to get a “threaded comments” plug-in to work on this site, but with no luck so far. That would help. Maybe it’ll happen over the weekend.

    As for Bill, there are much more boisterous commenters, but you don’t see their stuff because they’ve been permanently placed in moderation and their words rarely see the light of day. Thank your lucky stars.

    Comment by Rich Miller Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:49 am

  23. Rich,

    Quit being so coy — what is coming down the pike later today???

    Comment by Intrigued Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 8:53 am

  24. C’mon Rich–who’s getting indicted today? Probabaly not Blago himself–yet. Rezko maybe?

    Comment by Realist Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 9:14 am

  25. the national GOP appears interested in giving this race a go

    national republicans have in the past felt like illinois could financially support their own candidates, but hear the cries (demands) by gop contributors to get involved in illinois races. the factor that has limited national involvement is “the black hole.” chicago media is so expensive that they could buy 5-15 states worth of grp with the same money.

    illinois contributors, though, seem to want the rnc’s regconition that this is a credible race before ponying up. that is, if they ever do. it’s a vicious cycle. chris cillizza says it best: “This is an opportunity for Republicans, but the cost of going full-bore on behalf of Topinka may ultimately be too high.”

    i wouldn’t underestimate the fact that a lack of competitive gubernatorial contests around the country continues to draw national attention back to this race. i suspect that is *more* important than how actually competitive it is. i agree with the current rankings (lean democrat). it does seem the the guv has done what he needs to win (and judy has proven to be a weak opponent thus far), but there are structural limits to blagojevich’s vote totals. every republican i’ve talked to is hoping for a key indictment before election day…

    Comment by bored now Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 9:36 am

  26. I’d be surprised if there’s an idictment today. It’s been a busy week for Fitzgerald and his crew. Somehow, I think they’ll put a little time between Ryan’s sentencing and they’re next big announcement.

    Comment by Veritas Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 9:40 am

  27. That said, Judy better hope Rod’s indicted soon (as in before November 7th). Right now her campaign is looking rather lackluster and truly needs Rod to fall flat on his face in order to pull this one off.

    Comment by Veritas Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 9:43 am

  28. When Topinka says she’s within striking distance and she needs $5 million, what’s the national GOP going to do?

    Give the money to Topinka or incumbent Republican Congresscritters who need help?

    I think it’s very hard for JBT to win through her own actions. She has to hope Blagojevich is the victim of terrible news.

    And having a Green on the ballot will help the Dems. A number of the people who can’t bring themselves to vote for Blagojevich will vote for Rich Whitney. In a two-way race many of these people would have voted for JBT.

    Comment by Carl Nyberg Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 10:15 am

  29. I heard the indictments were going to be last Friday is it possible my info is a week off?

    Comment by DOWNSTATE Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 10:23 am

  30. Veritas -

    Why not pop an indictment on the Gov or one of his close buddies today? What a dandy way to finish off the week. Ryan was sentenced, so that task is over until the appeal process is decided. Maybe it’s time to start to button up another project for PFitz and crew have been working on. They don’t seem to waste much time once they have their ducks in a row. Or maybe PFitz is sick of Blago lying and distorting the truth on TV multiple times daily. It would make me want to indict him just to shut down his sanctimonious yapping.

    Comment by Buck Flagojevich Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 10:24 am

  31. The last I heard from the Rasmussen poll is that the Gov has spent a lot of money to get nowhere - not one point increase, but Judy has cut his lead from 16 down to 8 as she is gaining on him. Go Judy Go!

    Bill - I think you people in the gov’s office needs to get back to work and figure out how to save your ship - it’s sinking!

    Comment by BBishere2 Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 10:28 am

  32. When Topinka says she’s within striking distance and she needs $5 million, what’s the national GOP going to do?

    rga/rnc: “judy, we have an empty phone available for you immediately at our candidate call site. we’ll even provide you will a sophisticated list.” i seriously doubt she will ask…

    Comment by bored now Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 10:56 am

  33. Although election time draws ever nearer there is still plenty of time for Topinka to erase her small deficit in the polls. The current governor has spent many millions trying to tear her down to no avail.

    If this were a prize fight Blagojevich would be described on the fight card as throwing numerous punches but never landing one of them. The fight is now drawing to the later rounds and the challenger is still fresh, not having punched herself out throwing worthless jabs that never connect. It’s not how you start the fight but how you finish it that matters the most.

    Topinka is just starting her side of the campaign commercial wars so we’ll see how this further cuts into Blagojevich’s tenuous lead. He can’t be happy spending all those ill gotten dollars to gain zero ground. What’s even stranger is that it is the challenger that is defining the election not the current governor and this can only further benefit Topinka certainly not the current governor who has now been relegated to a constant case of denial and rebuttal. If you were new to the state you would assume that Blagojevich was the challenger as it is Topinka that is offering up the plans and all he has done is to attack those plans without even offering up an alternative.

    Comment by Sound Reasoning Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 2:47 pm

  34. A Republican breaking 50% in Illinois on November 7, 2006?

    I’m having a hard time seeing it.

    The national GOP practices scorched earth politics, but wants Dems and Dem leaners to forget it when voting for governor.

    Sorry, Judy, I don’t see it happening.

    Comment by Carl Nyberg Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 3:03 pm

  35. Here we go again. She’s just getting started, she’s getting ready to make her move, look out!

    What’s it going to be in the first week of October when the polls show the Gov 12 points ahead?

    She has no money, and she’s not a very sound investment. The next two weeks will tell it all.

    P.S. I hope the Gov. shows a clip of her rantings in Champaign Thursday night. Geeesh.

    Comment by B Hicks Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 3:57 pm

  36. The Governor had an outstanding day in the Quad Cities on Thursday. Surrounded by throngs of Republicans and Democrats, he announced a new push to win money to expand WIU on the riverfront.

    Comment by values matter Friday, Sep 8, 06 @ 4:53 pm

  37. I might vote for Blago if I know he is getting indicted and Pat Quinn will be the governor.
    However, if Blago is not getting indicted, I am voting for Topinka.

    Comment by Mark Saturday, Sep 9, 06 @ 8:02 pm

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