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Thursday, March 30, 2006 04:52 pm

The Hype

The gloves come off in the governors race, Lane Evans announces hes retiring

COMIN’ OUT HARD Not a full day after locking up the Democratic nomination for governor, Gov. Rod Blagojevich came out swinging, unveiling ads attacking his opponent, GOP hopeful Judy Baar Topinka, and inviting her to participate in a series of debates. That’s funny, given that throughout the Democratic primary campaign Blago claimed that he was too preoccupied with governing to play politics with his opponents. (I guess he was just playing possum). More maneuvering came on Saturday, when Blagojevich the governor asked Topinka the treasurer to flip-flop and get behind his assault-weapons ban. It was good move, politically. If Topinka, a self-described social moderate, moves on the gun issue and persuades other Republicans to get on board, the governor gets all the credit. Should she give Blagojevich the trigger finger, Topinka loses some support among left-leaning independent voters and creates some distance between the two candidates, who, many believe are in ideological lockstep on social issues.

LANE LOVERS U.S. Rep. Lane Evans announced this week that he wouldn’t seek another term in Congress because of his struggle with Parkinson’s disease. By 3 o’clock Tuesday afternoon, Lane’s House colleague and fellow Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama of Illinois, and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., had released statements praising Evans for his service to his country as a Marine and on Capitol Hill. By 3:01 p.m., speculation about who would run for Evans’ soon-to-be-vacant seat in the historically Democratic 17th District had started to swirl. According to The Hill, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper that covers Congress, two notable names floating as possible Evans successors are Knox County State’s Attorney Paul Mangieri, who just lost a bid for state treasurer, and retired former Illinois Department of Natural Resources director Joel Brunsvold. Springfield Ward 2 Ald. Frank McNeil, who’s facing term limits, also tells Illinois Times that a run at Evans’ spot is “definitely under consideration.” “What do we have to lose?," he asks.

WHAT RADOGNO KNOWS State Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, who wants to be Illinois’ next state treasurer, is hitting the university circuit, trying to explain to college kids that “one day the bill is going to come” for Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s social programs. First she explains what a pension is. Then Radogno tries to tell her audience how pensions work. Finally she’s gotta hope that the late-teen and early-twentysomething listeners aren’t offended when she says that, at age 30, opponent Alexi Giannoulias is still too wet behind the ears to do the job. Radogno, speaking at the University of Illinois at Springfield on Tuesday, says the fact that Giannoulias beat his own party machine, with the support of heavy hitters like U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, doesn’t worry her as much as the fact that the youthful Democrat is loaded — not only is he rich, but his campaign had four times as much money, according to the most recent disclosure reports. However, Radogno takes solace in the knowledge that self-funded millionaires, among them such local boys as Jim Oberweis, Ron Gidwitz, and Blair Hull, don’t always fare well in statewide elections.
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