I must admit to being curious who will even make the ballot come March 20 for Republican voters to pick from for their political party’s presidential nomination.
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Just because someone says they are a candidate does not mean you’re going to have a chance to cast a vote for them. Not even if they have a big, shiny bus that has taken them from place to place about the country in pursuit of the goal of who can shake the most hands without catching some sort of virus.
SO IT IS LIKELY that when the Illinois operations of the various presidential campaigns get around to filing their nominating petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections to get their ballot spots – along with slots for their delegate slates (the vote that actually matters) at least a few of the now-candidates will be gone.
That is most likely the lesson we should learn from Virginia – where only two campaigns were able to get ballot spots.
Virginia voters will be asked to pick between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. All of the rest of the candidates are pretenders, as far as the Commonwealth of Virginia is concerned.
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Will Illinois have an equally-restrictive list of people to pick from when we get around to casting our votes?
I’LL BE THE first to admit that this exercise will be largely theoretical for me. It is likely that I will take a Democratic Party primary ballot, which means my presidential “choice” will be to make my mark next to the name of Barack Obama, and the slate of delegates that he sends to the Democratic National Convention (Sept. 3-6, in Charlotte, N.C., to be specific).
Only if I want to believe the conspiracy theories being peddled by the Weekly World News (which is running a headline claiming that Bill Clinton is urging spouse Hillary to challenge Obama come ’12) will there be a choice for me, or the bulk of Illinoisans who WILL choose a Dem ballot come March.
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But for the GOP faithful (which means largely the one-third of the population that likes to think itself more significant than it really does because it is spread across 96 Illinois counties), it will be curious to see how many of the candidates will fail to get on the ballot.
Will Newt Gingrich throw another hissy fit if he fails to get on the Illinois ballot, similar to how he did when he failed in Virginia? What about Michele Bachmann!
I THINK HIS line about his failure being equivalent of “Pearl Harbor” (as in both were allegedly surprises that were distressing to the American people) is way over-the-top. Will he manage to come up with even more ridiculous rhetoric if he fails in Illinois?
We’ll have to wait and see. For if a recent Chicago Tribune report is at all accurate, it would seem that Gingrich doesn’t exactly have the largest base of support in Illinois – and may NOT have enough time to build one up among our state’s residents. Newt may be moot in the Land of Lincoln.
Although I did get a kick out of learning that state Sen. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, is among those willing to be a Gingrich delegate. It’s not amusing because his father, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is a part of the Obama administration.
It’s absurd because of the fact that LaHood, the elder, was chief of staff to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel of Peoria – a man whose sense of moderation was so thoroughly denounced by Gingrich’s rise to House speaker in the mid-1990s.
TO HAVE A “LaHood” now backing a “Gingrich” is just too much to take in all in one fell swoop – although it isn’t completely unheard of for a political sibling to disagree with the parent. Ask Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and daughter Lisa (a.k.a., Illinois attorney general) where they stand on abortion – if you want an equal-sized ideological gap.
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But this may be all a moot point if Gingrich can’t get on the Illinois ballot. In fact, what if that Illinois ballot winds up only having a couple of names on it just like in Virginia. It would really make the whole Republican primary seem like such an afterthought.
Particularly if it turns out that Romney winds up being about the only candidate who can get on the ballot in all 50 states.
Because the sense I get from watching campaign-type activity across the nation is that there probably is about 25 percent to 30 percent of the people who will vote Republican who want Mitt to be president.
THE REMAINDER OF the GOP electorate desperately wants Anybody But Mitt, and I’m not sure how enthused they’re going to be if he winds up being the only choice (which is how one reader of the State Journal-Register newspaper wound up colorfully phrasing it recently).
This has become the electoral cycle where the people will vote for who they hate less. But what happens if we go to the polls on March 20, then again on Nov. 6, and decide that we don’t like anybody?