Friday, December 6, 2013

Chicago GOP better be serious if they REALLY want to challenge Madigan

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has a challenger for his legislative seat on the Southwest Side. Well, sort of.

MADIGAN: Picking his own opponent?!?
When all the nominating petitions were submitted to the Illinois State Board of Elections, it seems that Terrence Goggin filed to run for the Legislature as a Republican. He wants to take on Madigan come the November general election.

SORT OF. GOGGIN has made similar challenges in the past. It seems he’s one of these people who likes to run for office. He has delusions of winning. But doesn’t actually have any kind of organization behind him.

There are many such people scattered all across the city. For them, the big decision is whether to use the otherwise blank Republican side of the ballot to get themselves in the election, or whether to run a token challenge in the Democratic primary.

Either way, they’re going to lose.

In Goggin’s case, there is suspicion that he is just a name that is being used by Madigan’s political operation to take up a ballot spot, perhaps to throw a wrench into the mechanism any real Republican might try to use to challenge Madigan from even getting into the Legislature – let alone being named House “speaker” for another two years.

IN FACT, IT is why the Republican Party in Chicago is trying to challenge Goggin’s nominating petitions. On its face, they’re looking to kick off the ballot one of their own. It sounds odd, but only if you think that electoral politics is all about what it appears to be on the surface.

The reality is that the Republicans don’t have a real candidate to challenge Madigan. Not now. And, likely, not later this year.

But they want the March primaries to come and go with no one winning the Republican nomination.

Is their challenge worthwhile?
If that happens, then the GOP operatives next spring would be permitted to just pick someone to be on the November general election ballot. Someone of their choosing.

IT WOULD BE a token challenge, just like any challenge that Goggin would put up. But at least it would be someone they want.

They can’t just appoint a candidate to take on Madigan if someone actually comes forth.

Which is why we’re going to see in coming weeks the efforts to scour through Goggin’s nominating petitions to knock off so many signatures of support that he becomes ineligible.

The Capitol Fax newsletter on Thursday reported about how some of the signatures look a little funky – as in they look like one person might have signed multiple times. Not that anybody should start pulling a “Captain Renault” routine and claim to be “shocked, shocked” to find that a nominating petition could be less than 100 percent legitimate.

NOW I DON’T have any evidence as to whether the Coggin petitions are, or are not, legitimate. Although my experience in viewing nominating petitions is that any candidates’ signatures of support can be found to have flaws – depending on how rigid a legal standard is applied.

Personally, I just don’t think it matters much whether the “Republican” challenger to Madigan come November is Coggin or someone else.

The 13th Ward on the Southwest Side that provides the bulk of Madigan’s Illinois House district is one that will overwhelmingly support him.

Meaning, it’s very possible that the Republican fight to knock Coggin off the ballot so they can pick someone could easily result in the GOP getting a candidate who’s just as weak and a “no-name.”

THIS WHOLE COGGIN challenge could wind up being a waste of time with no worthwhile end result – almost as lame as the whole “Dump Madigan” theme that Republicans tried for all elective posts in the 2012 election cycle.

At least that one was intellectually honest in that it conceded that Madigan was a power player within the whole Democratic Party – and we realized from the election results that a majority of voters aren’t bothered by that fact.


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