IT IS NOT because of anything Miller, a state representative from south suburban Lynwood, or Kelly, a one-time staffer to Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, has done wrong. Nor is it because either Topinka or Rutherford has done anything right.
It is just that in this election cycle, there is a Republican momentum that is going to cause them in all likelihood to take control of more government posts than would be standard on an Election Day.
People are focusing their attentions on the Illinois campaigns for U.S. senator and state governor. In many cases, they are going to work their way down the ballots by picking the candidates who are perceived as being allied with their picks for the top posts.
Which means many of the people who are so determined to dump on Chicago-oriented Democrats that they want William Brady for governor and are willing to stomach for one term the idea of Mark Kirk for U.S. Senate are going to wind up casting ballots for Topinka and Rutherford when they get down to the elections for comptroller and treasurer.
IT IS WHY I thought it was a big smug for Rutherford to use Facebook a few days ago to point out the fact that internal polls show him with a 10-point lead over Kelly, and ample funds in his campaign account to pay for campaign advertising that will further enhance his name recognition.
The reason I almost feel sorry is that there really is nothing that either Miller, who on Thursday had his wife sent out e-mails on his 48th birthday asking everybody to donate $10 to his campaign, in hopes that it will build up into a significant amount, can do to better his situation.
Neither can Kelly, who back in February paired up with Miller to give the south suburbs a significant place on the Democratic ticket, but now threaten to leave that region irrelevant if neither one can win.
FOR THEM TO bolster their chances of success on Election Day, it is going to have to be up to Pat Quinn to get off his campaign duff and start taking actions meant to bring down his Republican opponent a notch or two.
For the reality is that too many Democratic operatives have been waiting for Brady to “self-destruct” by having his ideological stances – largely conservative Republican and willing to advance an agenda desired by the ideologues – become more publicly known.
They’re going to have to accept that the mind-set of much of the Chicago-area electorate these days is that they don’t care, and they’re not going to take the time to learn about Brady’s flaws. Quinn has to go on the attack, both for himself and to bolster his party colleagues.
If he doesn’t, then Topinka gets her political comeback after losing the 2006 gubernatorial election to Rod Blagojevich, and Rutherford finally gets to move up from being a state legislator (having lost the ’06 election for Illinois secretary of state to incumbent Jesse White).
SO A LOT of people are going to be focusing their attention on Miller and Kelly to determine the long-range damage to the Democratic Party, and whether or not the Illinois Republican Party has truly regained influence, or if this truly is a bizarre fluke year for what is essentially a state of suburbs to the city of Chicago.
If anything, I think people should be paying attention to the campaigns of Lisa Madigan for Illinois attorney general and the re-election bid of White. The assumption is that the two incumbents both have significant political operations of their own and can win re-election against their GOP challengers – Steve Kim against Madigan and Robert Enriquez against White.
I’ll repeat now what I have written before – I think it was a cynical attempt by Illinois Republicans to make it appear to have an ethnic character (Kim is of Korean ethnic background, while Enriquez is from Eucador), but picking ethnic candidates for the slots they were convinced they had no chance of winning.
If even Enriquez and Kim manage to get significant numbers of votes – perhaps even enough that White gets pushed into retirement or Madigan winds up running for mayor of Chicago next spring because she has nothing else going for her – then perhaps there is something truthful about the idea of an ideological shift in Illinois.
UNTIL THEN, MILLER and Kelly are the people whose drawback is that the guy on top of the ticket is acting lame, particularly when he appears in their very own home region of south suburban Cook County.
Quinn didn’t help much by showing up at the long-defunct Dixie Square Mall in suburban Harvey – making jokes about how John Belushi is looking down from Heaven and saying “See Ya Later, Old Dixie Square” just because officials are finally getting off their duffs and moving forward with plans to demolish the mall that Belushi and Dan Ackroyd did a good start on back in 1979.