Monday, September 18, 2017

Who will make GOP bid for AG?

With Lisa Madigan making it public that 20 years of public service in state government is enough (for now) for her, it will be intriguing who decides to try to fill the state attorney general vacancy she has created.
MADIGAN: Who will replace her?

Various reports are speculating on the same names of government officials with ambition – the state Sen. Kwame Raoul (whom some like to think of as a Barack Obama clone), former Chicago Public Schools and Illinois State Board of Education official Gery Chico and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart are amongst the predictable picks for this post.

YET ALL OF the speculation is coming on the Democratic Party side – who will get the AG nomination for the right to try to replace Madigan. I’ll have to admit to being more intrigued by what will happen on the Republican side of the equation.

Thus far, there’s only one person indicating a desire to run for the GOP nomination for attorney general. That’s Erika Harold, an Urbana-based attorney who has one major credential to her name.

Some 15 years ago, she was chosen as Miss America (the last time someone from Illinois won that beauty/scholarship pageant title). She’s the one who (based off the impression she gives of herself on her Facebook page) expects those old photos of her in sash and tiara to create a lovable image that people will cast ballots for her to be Illinois government’s attorney.
I remember a few months ago when I first heard Harold was in the running I checked out their Facebook and Twitter account images, and found the dueling visuals of Harold with a U.S. soldier in uniform – compared to Madigan marching in Chicago’s Pride Parade.
HAROLD: Will GOP replace her?

WHICH HAD ME wondering if the conservative ideologues who have come to dominate the Republican Party in Illinois were planning on a borderline sexist and homophobic campaign style to try to knock votes off the Lisa Madigan tally.

Considering that Harold herself has made several unsuccessful electoral bids in the past for congressional seats from her central Illinois native region, it gave me the impression of Harold as someone intended to fill a ballot spot running against someone the Republican Party didn’t really think it had a chance of beating.
It certainly isn’t Harold’s legal credentials that will inspire many people to vote for her. The University of Illinois alumna is also a Harvard Law School graduate, and also is a member of the state Supreme Court committee on equality and the commission on professionalism.
Is there a yet-to-be-determined GOPer in race?

Which isn’t irrelevant. But it’s not exactly the standing in the legal community that’s going to make people think she ought to be the chief attorney who defends Illinois state government when it gets into trouble.

THAT TIARA AND sash are going to be the primary images that will get her whatever political support she manages to gain.

She certainly was named publicly this summer as the Republican preference for attorney general at the Illinois State Fair, when the GOP had its own political rallies to drum up support for the ticket.

But now that it won’t be a four-term incumbent (who also served a term in the Illinois Senate from the Ravenswood neighborhood) to run against, it has me wondering how quickly the Republican Party’s political operatives will try to come up with an alternate candidate.
RAOUL: Wanting to move up pol ladder?

I know the Republican Attorneys General Association issued a statement last week indicating that Harold is the GOP choice for the post and spewed predictable rhetoric about “lead(ing) the fight against public corruption and bring(ing) integrity to the Attorney General’s office,” I can’t help but think it is empty rhetoric.

PARTICULARLY THE LINES about how Lisa Madigan supposedly dropped out in fear of Harold’s pending campaign, which is, “so strong, in fact, that Lisa Madigan has decided she doesn’t want to run a campaign for re-election.”
DART: Giving up sheriff post for attorney?

A line that was the chuckle of the week last week for political operatives across Illinois of all persuasions.

Of course, Republicans do have to show some care in the way they handle this. Because if they’re too blunt in their approach, they could wind up triggering a brawl within the party ranks that could wind up making everybody look foolish and wind up tainting whoever does manage to win the GOP AG nomination.

Which may well be the ultimate fantasy of Raoul or Dart (whom I can remember the days decades ago when political people speculated he’d probably try to be Chicago mayor someday, along with Lisa Madigan as Illinois governor) or whoever ultimately winds up being chosen in the March 20 Democratic primary for the nomination.


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