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November 6, 2006 News Clips - Text
Posted by Diersen on 15-Mar-2007

DAILY HERALD
Roskam, Hastert, Fortner, Reboletti, Coladipietro, Eckhoff, and Redick: It’s an Election Day to watch - Control of Congress at stake — and plenty of heated local races — adds intrigue - Marni Pyke
http://www.dailyherald.com/politics/story.asp?id=247114
If you needed any proof the 6th Congressional District election race is the hottest ticket in town, just switch on the Al Arabiya network.
Or catch a report from British-based ITV News, France’s Le Figaro or the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

With at least 15 U.S. House seats in play this midterm election, the contest between Democrat Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth and Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam could help decide which party controls Congress.

As a result, foreign correspondents are pouring into the 6th District.

Outgoing Republican U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde always won easily in the GOP-dominated seat, but polls indicate it’s a statistical dead heat.

Muna Shikaki, a reporter for Al Arabiya television network, based in the United Arab Emirates, came to DuPage County last week to shoot footage of the candidates.

“American politics affects the rest of the world just as much as it affects the people that vote here in the United States, especially with the issue in Iraq,” Shikaki explained.

Journalist Philip Reay-Smith of ITV News, a commercial network in Great Britain, has covered earthquakes in India and the Iraq War. He crossed the pond last week to concentrate on Roskam vs. Duckworth.

“I find it fascinating,” he said. “I’m interested in American politics, and to be at such a crucial and highly contested and highly regarded race is very interesting.”

But the 6th Congressional isn’t the only game in town.

In fact, if you’re handicapping, there are a number of match-ups worth sitting up late for Tuesday night.

In the 14th Congressional District, formidable House Speaker and former wrestling coach Dennis Hastert usually slams any Democrat opponents to the mat. But this year, the Republican leader is actually campaigning against Democrat John Laesch in the wake of the congressional page scandal.

State side

Looking at the state picture, three GOP Illinois lawmakers aren’t seeking re-election. And that creates some flux in what traditionally has been Republican territory.

With 95th District Rep. Randy Hultgren running for state senator, there are two new kids on the block. Former Marine and ironworker Dirk Enger, a Democrat, is battling physics professor and West Chicago Mayor Michael Fortner, a Republican.

In the 46th District, longtime state representative and one-time House Speaker Lee Daniels is stepping down. That leaves Republican Dennis Reboletti, a Will County prosecutor, and Democrat Joseph Vosicky, an attorney, to battle it out.

A vicious GOP primary left incumbent state Rep. Roger Jenisch out in the cold in the 45th District. The last man standing, Jenisch’s opponent Franco Coladipietro, an attorney, and Democrat Rob Bisceglie, a consultant, now are vying for control of the seat.

Normally, DuPage County Board elections are a cakewalk for Republicans. However two contests appear to be in play.

In District 4, the death of incumbent John Noel created an open seat. Retired planner and Democrat Richard Dunn is running against Republican County Board member and attorney Grant Eckhoff, who lost a primary fight but was appointed to run for Noel’s seat.

The defeat of longtime incumbent Irene Stone in the spring primary leaves an empty chair in county board District 2. Vying for the vacancy are Democrat and DuPage Water Commission member Elizabeth Chaplin and Republican Jeff Redick, an attorney.

Governor’s race in high gear  Candidates spend days ahead of election trying to cement support - Eric Krol
http://www.dailyherald.com/special/election/story.asp?id=247164

After being mostly ignored throughout the campaign, Green Party governor candidate Rich Whitney found himself ripped by Republicans Sunday for his Socialist past.

Republican nominee Judy Baar Topinka said Whitney’s involvement in the national Socialist movement — which was first reported in the Daily Herald — is proof he’s not a mainstream candidate. Voters who punch his number in protest only ensure Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich wins Tuesday, she said.

“If you have a feeling that you don’t like what’s going on here and you’ve had enough, I’m the only viable candidate here that can change that,” she said outside Old St. Pat’s Church in the west Loop. “I’m the anti-Rod. I’m the antidote to the situation.”

Blagojevich toured South Side churches, looking to cement support among black voters who polls show still strongly support him. But even in that sanctuary, Blagojevich couldn’t escape talk about the numerous corruption investigations into hiring and contracts-for-campaign contributions that have kept him below 50 percent in the polls.

“I know you read in the newspapers all kinds of things about people who are under him. … You gotta look past that and don’t worry about this corruption here,” said the Rev. Arthur M. Brazier at Apostolic Church of God, before claiming that Blagojevich is “squeaky clean.”

Blagojevich touted his second-term agenda of state-subsidized health care for everyone, a minimum-wage increase and full-day kindergarten.

“I sure would like to have another minute so that we can transform the darkness of yesterday and turn it into the light of tomorrow,” said Blagojevich after quoting from a poem titled “If” by early 20th-century poet Rudyard Kipling.

The governor drew contrasts with Topinka for opposing the wage increase and universal health care, which she has said the state can’t afford. “She would take it back to how it was when George Ryan was the governor,” he told reporters.

Topinka accused Blagojevich of fiscal mismanagement and not living up to his 2002 promise to clean up business as usual in Springfield. “We don’t have the U.S. attorney chasing after us,” Topinka said. “I think the public understands goodness will prevail and that’s not just naivete.”

Blagojevich, who has spent more than $15 million on TV ads trashing Topinka, leads her in the polls by an average of 8 percentage points. In a sign voters don’t like either Blagojevich or Topinka, the Green Party’s Whitney is pulling about 10 percent of the vote even though most voters say they don’t know who he is.

Whitney, a 51-year-old Carbondale attorney, was involved with the Socialist Labor Party from the mid-1970s to 1993 when he resigned after a spat with leaders.

“When I got out of college in the ’70s, there were a lot of radical political groups around, and because of my devotion to working people, I was initially attracted to the Socialist ideology,” Whitney said outside a Southwest Side church, adding that he was not “a wacko.”

Illinois Republican Chairman Andy McKenna Jr., trying to convince would-be Whitney voters to move to Topinka, said Whitney “deliberately misled voters” about his past. “Voters need to know the extreme views of Whitney when they step into that voting both on Tuesday,” McKenna said.

Whitney said he didn’t mention his prior Socialist affiliation because he didn’t want to shoot himself in the foot politically.

Blagojevich declined to comment on Whitney. The governor also rolled out radio ads and automated phone calls featuring a message of support from former President Clinton.

Topinka stopped in Lake Villa to campaign at a festival sponsored by the American Aid Society of German Descendants before heading downstate. Her final 15-second TV ad bashes Blagojevich on corruption and asks voters if they’ve “had enough?”

The state GOP kicked in $500,000 into Topinka’s campaign, money it received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Topinka: Cubs "a bunch of losers" - Oops she did it again - Eric Krol

http://www.dailyherald.com/special/election/animalfarm.asp

Spent the morning tracking the three governor candidates: Democrat Rod Blagojevich, Republican Judy Baar Topinka and the Green Party's Rich Whitney. That story will be in Monday's print edition and also posted online.

I peeled away to watch the Bears blow their unbeaten season in a very big and surprising way, but the Associated Press' Deanna Bellandi flew downstate with Topinka and Chris Wills tracked Blagojevich. And good thing they did. Otherwise, we wouldn't have this dispatch:

Topinka continued to fire barbs at Blagojevich, a well-known Cubs fan. She said he spends more time at the ballpark than he does at the Legislature. "Maybe he ought to run for manager of the Cubs," she quipped in Bloomington. "They're a bunch of losers, too, and need some help."

Blagojevich didn't appreciate the comment. "If she wants to say I'm a loser and call me names ... God bless her, but leave the Cubs alone," he said. "She ought to retract the attack on the Cubs."

Oy vey. The polls will close in 45 hours and Topinka just loose-cannoned her way into potentially alienating another large group of people, depending on whether talk radio picks this up. The Cubs comment comes on the heels of previous episodes in which she said Blagojevich had "weasel eyes" and referred to her Republican primary opponents as "morons."

Topinka, for the record, is a White Sox fan. Another thing she and Blagojevich disagree on.

If she defies the polls and wins, it'll be an entertaining four years, if nothing else.

VERY SAD: Vandals damage GOP office in Naperville - Chad Brooks

http://www.dailyherald.com/special/election/story.asp?id=247113

With just two days to go before Tuesday’s election, Naperville police said they were investigating vandalism at a local Republican party campaign office.

Police said that sometime overnight Saturday, a large rock was thrown through a plate-glass window at the Lisle Township Republican Organization campaign offices, 19 N. Washington St.

“It hit a desk and then a wall,” said Jim Healy, a DuPage County Board member and member of the Republican organization. “It put a big gash in the wall.”

Police said no entry was made into the offices and there are no suspects under investigation.

While some may question whether the vandalism was election-related, Naperville police Sgt. Ken Keating said their investigation has revealed nothing suggesting the damage was connected.

Healy said that while the stealing of campaign signs has been a long-standing practice in the area, he has never seen vandalism like this before.

“This is Naperville,” Healy said. “This doesn’t happen here.”

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Naperville Police Department Investigations Unit at (630) 420-6108.

Anonymous tips for cash rewards leading to the arrest of a suspect can be made to the Naperville Crime Stoppers at (630) 420-6006.

Northwest suburban Cook County: State Senate races look to be biggest on Election Day

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/cookstory.asp?id=247138&cc=c&tc=&t=

In the heart of Northwest suburban Cook County, among the highlights of Tuesday’s election are four hotly contested state Senate races.

Here is a final brief look at where the candidates stand on major issues confronting the state, particularly where they differ.

For more on each race, visit dailyherald.com and click on “Election 2006” to view news stories and complete Q&As with the candidates.

33rd state Senate

Cheryl Axley, a Mount Prospect Republican, and Dan Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat, agree the state budget needs some serious help, that state-funded stem cell research is a good thing and that state income and sales taxes should not be raised.

So voters will look at the differences between the two candidates vying for the District 33 state Senate seat before casting their votes Tuesday.

Kotowski has said he would give legal benefits to gay couples in long-term, committed relationships. Axley would not, and favors keeping the ban on gay marriage.

Axley is in favor of the death penalty but wants to put the question before the public before reinstating it. Kotowski supports the moratorium, except for crimes that involve terrorism or mass murder.

Kotowski says slot machines at Arlington Park racetrack would never get his vote. Axley, who said she doesn’t like gambling and has never been to a casino, would nevertheless support the idea if Arlington’s future depended on the slot machines’ revenue.

Arlington Park Chairman Richard Duchossois has argued in the past that the track may need slots to subsidize race purses that draw better horses and likewise more gamblers. The proposal often comes up in the state legislature but has failed to win approval.

Axley and Kotowski will square off Tuesday for the two-year state Senate term. Kotowski beat fellow Park Ridge Democrat James Morici Jr. in the March primary election.

Axley, the GOP committeewoman in Elk Grove Township, was elevated to the state Senate in September 2005 when former state Sen. Dave Sullivan, a Republican, retired. She ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

The 33rd Senate District stretches from Woodfield Shopping Center in Schaumburg on the west to Canfield Avenue on the Park Ridge/Chicago border on the east. It contains nearly all of Park Ridge and Elk Grove Village; large parts of Des Plaines, Rosemont, Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights; and portions of Niles, Schaumburg and Rolling Meadows.

27th state Senate

The race to replace retiring state Sen. Wendell Jones, of Palatine, is between Harper College Trustee Matt Murphy of Palatine, who beat Palatine Mayor Rita Mullins in the GOP primary, and firefighter Peter Gutzmer of Palatine, who ran uncontested for the Democratic nomination.

On funding Illinois schools, Gutzmer said he believes an “unmanageable” burden has been put on property taxes, saying school funding cannot be improved until schools and property taxes are separated.

Murphy, meanwhile, does not support a proposed tax swap — putting more of the burden on income taxes — saying it would stifle economic growth and limit the state’s ability to fund education in the long run. He also fears it would make local schools more susceptible to political influence.

The candidates also differ on whether the state should get into the business of embryonic stem cell research.

According to Murphy, this type of research would be too expensive for Illinois to take on. He says he is not against the idea, but would rather see it take place at the federal level or by private companies.

Gutzmer, on the other hand, thinks the state could become a leader by starting stem cell research. He says it also will attract more investors to Illinois and create more jobs.

The two also clash when it comes to local issues, such as whether Harper College in Palatine should offer four-year degrees.

Murphy, a member of the college’s board of trustees, is one of the lone opponents to the idea on the board, saying that by Harper paying for all the startup costs to offer these degrees, the cost of going to school there would go up. He would rather partner with existing four-year colleges to offer students more options.

Gutzmer, meanwhile, thinks access to higher education needs to be more available in the Northwest suburbs, which is why he supports the push for degrees.

The 27th state Senate District stretches from Palwaukee Municipal Airport on the east to the Cook-Kane county line on the west. It includes most of Palatine, northern Arlington Heights and parts of Barrington, Barrington Hills, Buffalo Grove, Hoffman Estates, South Barrington, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling and Prospect Heights.

The seat is a two-year term.

22nd state Senate

Social issues are largely what differentiate Democrat Michael Noland from Republican Billie Roth in the 22nd District race.

The senate hopefuls agree that pension and education funding reform are a priority, and that Illinois lawmakers need to rein in spending but not hike taxes, to reverse a ballooning budget deficit.

Roth, the village president of Streamwood for the past 16 years, opposes gay marriage as well as assistance for illegal immigrants such as low-rate home mortgages and in-state college tuition.

Employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers, she said, also should be punished.

“If you’re illegally here, you shouldn’t have the same privileges as someone who is here legally,” she has said.

Noland, an Elgin attorney and former assistant public defender, takes a different approach.

It is not known how many illegal immigrants live and work in the 22nd District, which includes most of Streamwood and Elgin, and parts of Carpentersville, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg.

Whatever the number, Noland said “these individuals are part of community, both economically and culturally.”

He would back laws that would “provide a means for hardworking, law-abiding individuals to gain their citizenship and fully take their place in society.”

“I want to be a part of the debate that considers realistic proposals that assimilate these families,” he added.

The two sides also have some differences in their views on whether Illinois should fund stem-cell research.

Roth said yes, as long as the research does not involve new embryonic lines.

Noland, a former Navy medic, supports publicly funded research with no restrictions. He said it could bring medical research jobs to the state and lead to breakthroughs in treating serious diseases.

Both candidates are running to replace Steven Rauschenberger who resigned from the Illinois Senate last year to seek the Republican lieutenant governor nomination.

This seat has a four-year term.

39th state Senate

Two candidates competing to represent the 39th Senate District, which includes parts of Rosemont and Bensenville, are split on gun rights, abortion and on how to fund state services.

Republican Jim Rowe is challenging state Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, for the seat Harmon has held since 2003. Harmon, a 39-year-old lawyer, supports gun control, including laws banning assault weapons and against carrying concealed weapons.

Rowe, a 28-year-old Franklin Park lawyer and school board member, last month posted a message to gun rights advocates on www.icarry.org, a Web site that promotes the right to carry concealed weapons. But Rowe denies he supports carrying concealed weapons, adding he supports an assault weapons ban.

Rowe said he posted the message because he supports gun ownership. Rowe challenges Harmon’s support of a long-standing gun ban in Oak Park.

Harmon and Rowe also differ on abortion rights. Harmon supports abortion rights and parental notification laws. Rowe opposes abortion rights, except in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is in danger.

Rowe challenges Harmon’s support of tapping into the state pension system to help erase a more than $1 billion debt without raising taxes. Rowe instead wants to consolidate the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, and Illinois Department of Transportation to free up money to pay for state services.

The seat has a two-year term.

Lake County: Key congressional race, heated local races add intrigue  Control of Congress at stake — and plenty of heated local races — add intrigue - Mike Riopell
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/cookstory.asp?id=246980&cc=c&tc=&t=

Lake County is home to two of the three suburban races some observers say might be key for Republicans keeping control of Congress or Democrats taking over.

Two years after upsetting longtime Republican Rep. Phil Crane in the 8th Congressional District, Democrat U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean is now fighting to keep the seat from Republican David McSweeney. In the 10th, Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk is trying to fend off Democratic challenger Dan Seals.

Both sides have flooded the airwaves with ads, rivaling only the suburban 6th Congressional District for TV time.

Lake County voters face interesting choices up and down the ballot Nov. 7, ranging from several state legislative battles to the hotly contested race for sheriff.

Early on, Lake County Republicans said winning the 8th Congressional District seat the party held for so long with Crane was their top priority going into election season, especially given the national implications for Republicans keeping control in Congress.

“It’s a vital race for us,” county GOP leader Dan Venturi said. “I’m excited that we may have a chance to have a say in that.”

The contest has hinged on hot-button issues such as immigration reform, tax cuts and the war in Iraq. For example, McSweeney criticizes Bean over border security and she hits back over their differences on stem-cell research. Third-party candidate Bill Scheurer has made a push throughout the campaign on an anti-war platform.

In the south and east parts of the county, Kirk, of Highland Park, has won re-election to his congressional seat by comfortable margins in his last two races.

But some observers say he’s in for his toughest re-election fight yet against Seals, of Wilmette. Seals has been trying to tie his opponent to President Bush’s policies, namely the Iraq war, while Kirk emphasized a moderate record.

How close the race is depends on which poll you read, but Democrats feel like they have a legitimate shot at the seat for the first time since 2000.

“That’s going to be one of those you’re going to have to stay up real late at night on,” said state Sen. Terry Link, leader of the Lake County Democrats.

On the local and state level, the Lake County sheriff’s race and battles for several General Assembly seats have commanded the most attention from voters.

Democrat Mark Curran is harping on an investigation into the sheriff’s office in hopes of unseating two-term Republican incumbent Gary Del Re.

The investigation found “mismanagement” and a “lack of supervision,” according to the state’s attorney and attorney general.

But Del Re says changes in the office’s financial operations already were in progress before the investigation ended. He’s hit back, saying Curran, a defense attorney, doesn’t have the background to be sheriff.

The legislative race with the some of the most bickering is in the southern part of the county in the 51st House District. There, Democrat Amanda Howland is working to unseat Republican Ed Sullivan Jr. She’s brought up his 2004 DUI arrest and lobbed a false allegation that Sullivan held fundraisers at a Springfield gentlemen’s club.

Sullivan, who also serves as Fremont Township assessor, has said he’s had to fight off several attacks from Howland, and has called for an apology.

A hot race to the north is the battle to replace longtime Republican state Sen. Adeline Geo-Karis, who has served in the General Assembly since 1973.

She lost a bitter primary race in March to fellow Republican Suzanne Simpson.

Simpson, the Warren Township supervisor, spent a lot of money trying to oust Geo-Karis, and finds herself in a seemingly close race against Democrat Michael Bond, a Woodland Elementary District 50 school board member.

He has tried to hitch onto Geo-Karis’ popularity with a series of mailings, but the longtime senator just recently expressed support of Bond officially in a letter to voters.

ABC7

Countdown to Election Day  Green party candidate (once a leader of the radical Socialist Labor Party) could effect governor's race - Andy Shaw
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=local&id=4730538 (Includes video clip)
With just two days until the election, the candidate who could help decide the race between Republican Judy Baar Topinka and Governor Rod Blagojevich is in the middle of his first controversy.

A surprise development about Green party candidate for Governor Rich Whitney: the 51-year-old admits he was once a leader of the radical Socialist Labor Party.
Rich Whitney's Green party campaign is attracting more than 10 percent of the voters in all the polls, which is obviously not enough to win, but it could affect the outcome on Tuesday. That's why Republican Judy Baar Topinka and state GOP leaders are jumping on the news about Whitney's radical past. They claim that he is too extreme for Illinois, and if voters really want to clean things up, they should vote for her and not Blagojevich or Whitney.

"Ya know, when I got out of college in the 70's, there were a lot of radical political groups around, and because of my devotion to working people, I was initially attracted to the socialist ideology," said Rich Whitney, Green party candidate for governor.

The Green party candidate is not apologizing for his affiliation with a radical group that called for the elimination of capitalism, but you won't find his involvement on a resume or web site for obvious reasons, even though Rich Whitney says he left the Socialist Labor Party 14 years ago.

"I haven't volunteered it," said Whitney. "I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. But when I'm asked about it I've answered. I've never hidden it."

"Before citizens vote for anybody, they oughta know the candidates and what their beliefs are, and if someone is extreme like this, voters should know that before they go to the voting booth," said Andy McKenna , Illinois GOP chairman.

The chairman of the Republican party is echoing GOP challenger Judy Baar Topinka's claim that people who want to clean up Illinois politics should vote for her.

"It's always been between Blagojevich and me. I'm the anti-Rod, I'm the antidote to the situation," said Judy Baar Topinka, (R)-nominee for governor.

"Punditry and prognostication and predicting is what you do. That's not my job," said governor Rod Blagojevich, (D)-nominee for re-election.

Blagojevich ignored the Whitney controversy as he campaigned in black and Latino churches Sunday. His get-out-the-vote effort has a familiar ring, an automated phone message from former President Bill Clinton.

The former president is still extremely popular among Democratic voters, kind of like former Governor Jim Edgar In Republican circles, and he will be with Treasurer Topinka on and off Monday as she flies around the state for a series of get-out-the-vote rallies.

Blagojevich has a downstate fly-around of his own Monday, and both campaigns end up back in the Chicago area Monday night.

Rich Whitney's Green party campaign ends in downstate Carbondale, where he lives. For the record, Whitney can't afford a fly-around. He travels by train and car.

Watch ABC7 for complete election coverage Tuesday evening. We will have live local updates plus an expanded edition of our 10 p.m. news. Results will also be posted on ABC7Chicago.com. We will have coverage on our digital channel, which many cable customers can find on Comcast, channel 217. If you are on the go that night, you can get results on a wireless handheld or web-enabled cell phone at abc7togo.com.

Countdown to Election Day  Green party candidate could effect governor's race - Andy Shaw
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=local&id=4730538 (Includes video clip)
With just two days until the election, the candidate who could help decide the race between Republican Judy Baar Topinka and Governor Rod Blagojevich is in the middle of his first controversy.

A surprise development about Green party candidate for Governor Rich Whitney: the 51-year-old admits he was once a leader of the radical Socialist Labor Party.
Rich Whitney's Green party campaign is attracting more than 10 percent of the voters in all the polls, which is obviously not enough to win, but it could affect the outcome on Tuesday. That's why Republican Judy Baar Topinka and state GOP leaders are jumping on the news about Whitney's radical past. They claim that he is too extreme for Illinois, and if voters really want to clean things up, they should vote for her and not Blagojevich or Whitney.

"Ya know, when I got out of college in the 70's, there were a lot of radical political groups around, and because of my devotion to working people, I was initially attracted to the socialist ideology," said Rich Whitney, Green party candidate for governor.

The Green party candidate is not apologizing for his affiliation with a radical group that called for the elimination of capitalism, but you won't find his involvement on a resume or web site for obvious reasons, even though Rich Whitney says he left the Socialist Labor Party 14 years ago.

"I haven't volunteered it," said Whitney. "I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. But when I'm asked about it I've answered. I've never hidden it."

"Before citizens vote for anybody, they oughta know the candidates and what their beliefs are, and if someone is extreme like this, voters should know that before they go to the voting booth," said Andy McKenna , Illinois GOP chairman.

The chairman of the Republican party is echoing GOP challenger Judy Baar Topinka's claim that people who want to clean up Illinois politics should vote for her.

"It's always been between Blagojevich and me. I'm the anti-Rod, I'm the antidote to the situation," said Judy Baar Topinka, (R)-nominee for governor.

"Punditry and prognostication and predicting is what you do. That's not my job," said governor Rod Blagojevich, (D)-nominee for re-election.

Blagojevich ignored the Whitney controversy as he campaigned in black and Latino churches Sunday. His get-out-the-vote effort has a familiar ring, an automated phone message from former President Bill Clinton.

"Hello, this is Bill Clinton. After 26 years of Republican governors, Rod Blagojevich is making a real difference."

The former president is still extremely popular among Democratic voters, kind of like former Governor Jim Edgar In Republican circles, and he will be with Treasurer Topinka on and off Monday as she flies around the state for a series of get-out-the-vote rallies.

Blagojevich has a downstate fly-around of his own Monday, and both campaigns end up back in the Chicago area Monday night.

Rich Whitney's Green party campaign ends in downstate Carbondale, where he lives. For the record, Whitney can't afford a fly-around. He travels by train and car.

The candidates for Cook County Board president spent part of the day rallying their troops for the election. Democrat Todd Stroger joined Governor Blagojevich at the House of Hope Salem Baptist Church. He wouldn't estimate what the voter turnout might be on Tuesday, but he predicted it would be good.

"We are blanketing the whole county. we have support from every elected official -- well, just about every elected official. They are all out there. We have troops out there," said Todd Stroger, (D)-candidate for Cook County Board president.

Republican Tony Peraica was welcomed by a raucous and partisan crowd in Park Ridge. He said he is leading in most of the polls and he predicted victory on Tuesday.

"Everybody across this county, Democrats, independents, Republicans, are aching for good government, are aching for lower taxes. They want reform. They're sick and tired of corruption and they're going to do it on Tuesday by coming out and voting for Tony Periaca," said Tony Peraica, (R)-candidate for Cook County president.

If elected, Peraica would be the first Republican Cook County Board president in 40 years.

Watch ABC7 for complete election coverage Tuesday evening. We will have live local updates plus an expanded edition of our 10 p.m. news. Results will also be posted on ABC7Chicago.com. We will have coverage on our digital channel, which many cable customers can find on Comcast, channel 217. If you are on the go that night, you can get results on a wireless handheld or web-enabled cell phone at abc7togo.com.

NBC5
Greens Seek At Least 5 Percent Of Vote, Ballot Parity
http://www.nbc5.com/news/10246203/detail.html
Rich Whitney knows his prior showings with the Green Party might seem puny -- 6 percent of the vote in his run for the state House in 2002, 8 percent two years later.

"It was nothing to write home about," the Carbondale civil rights and labor attorney laments.

But Whitney would welcome drawing at least 5 percent on Tuesday in his quest to unseat Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, well aware such a showing would be a huge victory even if it doesn't sweep him into the governor's mansion.

Reaching that threshold would legally make the Greens "established" in Illinois, meaning its candidates would qualify for easier ballot access in 2008 and be eligible for primaries -- just like Republicans and Democrats.

"It's a very big deal," said Ron Michaelson, who in 2003 retired after nearly three decades as chief of the state's elections board. "This is plowing pretty new ground in Illinois."

Recent polls have shown Whitney far behind Blagojevich and the Republican Party's Judy Baar Topinka, though Whitney consistently has been above 5 percent. Michaelson believes "there's far better than a 50-50 chance" Whitney will eclipse that level for the Greens on Election Day.

That was before it surfaced that Whitney was once a member of the Socialist Labor Party and editor of its newspaper. Whitney resigned from the party in 1993, and his campaign says he no longer advocates socialist policies.

If he still manages to top 5 percent, the party would face a far less onerous burden to collect signatures for the next election, putting them on par with requirements for Democrats and the GOP. While signature requirements vary by office, the Green Party needed 25,000 to get Whitney on the Nov. 7 ballot, five times more than Blagojevich and Topinka.

"I am running this race to win," Whitney said. "But if I fall short of that, which most people are predicting, the consolation prize would be 5 percent and a pretty sizable step up" for the Green Party, whose slate also includes candidates for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and comptroller.

The distinction of "established" party -- which would be kept by the Greens as long as the party's highest candidate on the ticket received at least 5 percent of the vote in the future -- would apply to partisan races up and down the ballot, from statewide to local levels.

"That's just a continuing requirement every two years," says Michaelson, now a visiting professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. "If the Green Party, for whatever reason, ceases to exist, all bets are off."

When the state Board of Elections certified the November ballot that includes a Green Party slate of candidates, Whitney embraced it as "a very rare opportunity for a political party like ours to finally break through that two-party iron curtain and get on the political map in Illinois."

Third-party candidates have had brief successes before in Illinois, though their parties never enjoyed a sustained push.

Michaelson points to 1986, when two candidates for lieutenant governor and secretary of state, unknowns who were followers of political activist and frequent presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, won in the Democratic primary.

Those surprise victories prompted the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Adlai Stevenson III -- the son and namesake of the former governor and U.S. presidential candidate -- to form the Illinois Solidarity Party to avoid running with a LaRouche candidate as a running mate.

The younger Stevenson lost to Republican Jim Thompson but got 40 percent of the vote, winning the Solidarity Party the label of "established" for the 1988 election. That designation fizzled two years later when the party's presidential candidate got less than 1 percent of the vote.

In 1996 in Illinois, the Reform Party's Ross Perot topped 5 percent in his quest for the presidency, securing that party's place on the statewide ballot two years later. But none of the Reform Party candidates in 1998 got 3 percent of the vote.

Regardless of Whitney's admittedly long odds of winning, many say the 51-year-old civil rights and labor attorney may benefit from good timing. Recent polls have shown that Illinois voters don't seem overly enamored with Blagojevich or Topinka as they bash each other with televised campaign spots, leaving some observers thinking such attacks will inspire voters to look elsewhere.

"He might just be that none-of-the-above vote," said Chris Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield. "I wouldn't be surprised if he got that 5 percent, I really wouldn't. There's disgust with politics in general, disgust with the gubernatorial campaign. And (Green Party candidates) are starting to look like a viable alternative."

Blagojevich, Baar Topinka Take Campaign To Churches
http://www.nbc5.com/news/10245685/detail.html
With a little more than a day to go before the election, the candidates for Illinois governor were spending Sunday campaigning in local churches.

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich was speaking in the morning at the Apostolic Church of God in Hyde Park.

The governor's schedule was very busy Sunday, expected to make appearances at 10 different churches between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Republican challenger Judy Baar Topkinka was starting the day in Old Saint Patrick's Church downtown, then was headed to events in Bloomington and Springfield.

Saturday, Baar Topinka met people at a restaurant in North Riverside, then attended a Hillside parade.

The governor spent Saturday trying to rally the Hispanic vote in the 25th Ward.

Blagojevich accused Baar Topinka of turning her back on Illinois families on health, the minimum wage and more.

Topinka countered that Blagojevich may offer big ideas but he fails to deliver.

She said he has increased the state's budget problems and mismanaged government programs.

"I'm saying I am the viable alternative to Gov. Blagojevich," she said.

"I just think she's part of the same chorus of voices who said all of that four years ago," Blagojevich said. "They were wrong then. They're wrong again."

One recent poll from the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research showed the governor has 44 percent support, Baar Topkina with 40 percent support, and Rich Whitney, the Green Party candidate, with 7 percent support.

The goal for the candidates this weekend was to get voters out to the polls Tuesday.

Both Cook County Board President Candidates Expect Victory
http://www.nbc5.com/politics/10247047/detail.html (Includes video clip)
At the South Side megachurch founded by the Rev. and state Sen. James Meeks, prayer was interwoven with politics on this first Sunday in November.

Meeks introduced 8th ward Alderman Todd Stroger, who hopes to succeed his father, John, as president of the Cook Board.

"I've been up and down the finish line, and I can see the light," Stroger said.

Meanwhile, in north suburban Park Ridge, supporters of Republican Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica crammed into a small office.

"Are you ready to make history?" Peraica asked.

The crowded chanted back, "Tony! Tony! Tony!"

Peraica's campaign today was boisterous, cutting across Milwaukee Avenue in traffic.

Stroger's demeanor was more low-key, appearing at seven churches.

During a pause, NBC 5's political editor Carol Marin asked both candidates about the best and worst parts of the campaign.

"The best part is being able to go about the county and talk to people and, once I tell them who I am, I get a good response," Stroger said.

Peraica said, "The best part of this campaign has been the enthusiastic and emotional support that I have received from all sections of Cook County."

What's the worst part of this campaign?

"All the money that we have to spend," Peraica said.

"The hardest part, the hardest part of the campaign is knowing if my father was well that he would be cruising to a victory," said Stroger.

Now, Stroger claims he is poised to win.

"I expect a victory and it will come with your help," he told an audience.

Meanwhile, Tony Peraica says the odds favor him.

"All the polling, objective polling, shows I am leading in this race," he said.

A Republican hasn't been elected president of the Cook County Board in more than four decades. In the meantime, Cook County has only gotten more Democratic.

So, does that mean Todd Stroger's going to win and Tony Peraica is going to lose? The fact of the matter is turnout could turn that all around, Marin reported.

CBS2
Campaigning Flurry Continues In Governor's Race  Topinka Equates Governor, Cubs To Losers
http://cbs2chicago.com/politics/local_story_309222826.html (Includes video clip)
In the final days before the election, fighting words broke out between Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka over baseball. And Green Party candidate Rich Whitney made a surprising announcement.

CBS 2's Joanie Lum talked with all the candidates Sunday in the final push to get out the vote.

Candidates for governor called on higher powers at churches the Sunday before the election. Topinka visited Old St. Pat's and called Green Party candidate Whitney a non-contender.

"I don't think he was a real issue, it's was always Governor Blagojevich and me. And I'm the antidote," Topinka said.

Whitney was an unknown but is stirring controversy, admitting he was a member of the Socialist Labor Party for 15 years.

"I wrote for their newspaper, I was the editor of their newspaper," Whitney said. "I left them in 1992, 14 years ago."

Blagojevich received blessings at Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer. But another voice phoned in support today.

Former President Bill Clinton recorded telephone messages for his fellow Democrat. On the campaign, the governor repeated his Democratic Party beliefs.

"I believe we ought to move toward health care, if I'm still in business past this Tuesday," Blagojevich said.

Topinka, who went through Lake Villa, Bloomington and Springfield, fired barbs at Blagojevich who is a well-known Cubs fan.

She says he spends more time at the ballpark than he does at the Legislature. Topinka suggested the governor should run for the manager of the Cubs, saying, "They're a bunch of losers too."

Blagojevich responded, "You can call me names, but leave the Cubs alone."

After spending the day in churches, all three candidates are hitting the road, traveling the state in these final hours of the campaign.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Roskam and McSweeney have news conferences today to counter the expected crush of attention Durbin and Obama will attract
http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/125494,CST-NWS-cong06.article
Campaigns reach 'ground game' stage - Scott Fornek and Lynn Sweet
The battle to replace Rep. Henry Hyde, one of the most closely watched in the nation, is down to a massive war on the airwaves and intense get-out-the-vote drives.
"It's now the ground game," Democrat Tammy Duckworth said Sunday.

"This is where the ground game pays off," said GOP rival Peter Roskam.

It's rare agreement in what has been a brutal race in the west and northwest suburban 6th Congressional District that combined will cost more than $10 million, with most of the money spent on television ads. Polls -- public and those conducted for the campaigns -- show it's a tossup.

"All of the experts say that this race will be won or lost by 2,000 votes -- 1 or 2 percent. That's all it's going to be," Duckworth said.


Durbin, Obama lend a hand
Over the weekend, in three of the most competitive U.S. House races, the contenders focused on turning out votes on Tuesday.
Today, the two Illinois senators, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, blitz for Democrats in the biggest House races in northern Illinois: those involving Duckworth, Rep. Melissa Bean and Dan Seals.

Durbin and Obama will appear at rallies in Waukegan, Grayslake and Elmhurst.

"It will help gin up excitement to help turn out the vote," Seals said.

The wildly popular Obama comes off a national swing of stumping for other Democrats. But the campaign events may also be marked by questions about Obama's real estate deal with indicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko, since these are his first local appearances since the story broke last week.

Roskam and Republican David McSweeney, Bean's suburban 8th Congressional District challenger, both have news conferences today to counter the expected crush of attention Durbin and Obama will attract.

 

'Brutal' ads
Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, a Republican who is facing an unexpectedly strong multimillion-dollar challenge from Seals in the north suburban 10th Congressional District, is taking a different tack. Running ahead, Kirk is mainly trying to run out the clock and let his paid ads do his messaging.
Sunday morning, both Kirk and Seals did retail campaigning in Waukegan -- Kirk among Mexican Americans and Seals stopping by several black churches.

In the afternoon, they were looking for voters in the Cook County portion of the district.

Duckworth almost lost her March primary because of a weak field operation, and her campaign for months has focused on turning out the vote in an area represented by a Republican for the last 32 years.

At a plasterers and cement masons union hall in Villa Park, Duckworth told more than two dozen volunteers that they are the key to overcoming the TV ads Republicans have been running against her.

"The ccials are brutal," she said. "They're terrible."


Teen daughter helps out
Walking precincts in nearby Lombard with his 13-year-old daughter Frankie, Roskam said it's now all about getting out the vote.
"Every vote's going to come down to it in this campaign," he told Andy and Sandy Kranenborg, an engineer and homemaker, as he handed them a flier on their doorstep.

Democrats may be poised to reclaim the House for the first time since 1994. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the boss of the House Democratic political operation, declined to predict victory Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Said Emanuel, "I'm confident that we ... are playing offense across this country in every region of this country."

Gov, County Board fights in last round  Fearing loss of votes, GOP rips Greens' candidate - Scott Fornek
http://www.suntimes.com/news/125372,CST-NWS-gov06.article
Less than 48 hours before Election Day, Illinois Republicans went after Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney on Sunday, accusing him of hiding his past as a Socialist and alerting voters of the "shocking revelation."

 

Obviously worried that the third-party candidate would pull enough votes to hurt GOP gubernatorial challenger Judy Baar Topinka, state Republican Chairman Andy McKenna Jr. called a news conference to publicize a newspaper report about Whitney's past.

"Voters need to know the extreme views of Whitney when they step into that voting booth on Tuesday," McKenna said.

Whitney insisted he never hid his past, but admitted he didn't brag about it, either.

"I have not volunteered it -- I don't want to shoot myself in the foot," he told reporters outside a South Side church. "But when people have asked me, I've answered the question."


'Initially attracted'
The civil rights lawyer said he joined the Socialist Labor Party in California in the late 1970s, writing for its newspaper and briefly serving as its editor, but he said he became disenchanted with the philosophy and left the party in 1992, a year before he moved to Downstate Carbondale.
"I have not been a Socialist for over 14 years," he said. "When I got out of college in the '70s, there were a lot of radical political groups around, and because of my devotion to working people, I was initially attracted to the socialist ideology."

Whitney said he rejected socialism because he became convinced workers need "both a healthy public sector and healthy private sector."

He said his positions in the governor's race -- funding education by raising the income tax and lowering local property taxes, universal health care and cleaning up corruption -- are "mainstream" positions.

"I'm the one that's running on the mainstream," he said. "Putting a casino in Chicago? Now that's a kooky idea, OK?"

But even as McKenna denounced Whitney's views, Topinka, who proposed a Chicago casino, sought to downplay the third party's significance.

"I don't think that's particularly mainstream Illinois," she said of Whitney's past. "But, you know, again, I'd have to stress, I don't think he's really been a big issue here. It's between Rod Blagojevich and me.

"If you like what Rod's doing, fine," she said outside Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church on the Near West Side. "But I think most people are fed up."

Gov. Blagojevich spent the day visiting African-American churches on the South Side and in the south suburbs.


Touts minimum-wage fight
At the Democrat's first stop, he got a warm introduction from Bishop Arthur Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God in the Woodlawn neighborhood. Brazier urged his huge congregation not to put much stock in newspaper articles about federal corruption probes of those close to the governor.
Blagojevich touted his fight to raise the minimum wage and pledged to move the state toward universal health care.

"It's the Golden Rule," he said. "We're doing unto others as I would have done unto me. We're making real progress in this state to improve the lives of people."

Viewers disagree with my GOP/GOTV analysis on channel 11's "Week-in-Review'' Lynn Sweet
http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2006/11/viewers_disagree_with_my_gopgo.html
It could be called "political junkie.'' It was good to be back in a guest chair on this weeks edition of channel 11's "Week-in-Review.'' I was covering an event that Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) was appearing at in Zion on Saturday and right away when I walked in people came up to me to continue a conversation started on the show.
I talked about the GOP's get-out-the vote operation in the 6th and 8th cd's...A viewer e-mailed to disagree...PLUS some other comments.

Saw you on the week in review tonight.

The swamp vapors from D.C. must be getting to you. Heard you say regarding Illinois that the GOP had a better GOTV program than the Dems at the Party level. As a staunch Republican - I can tell you that couldn't be more wrong.

There may be SOME energy in those districts for McSweeney and Roskam. But Lynn, the IL GOP is dead as a doornail.

The State GOP has already collapsed. Some will just remain in denial until the latest proof comes in on Tuesday. I can almost guarantee that Repubs will lose ALL the statewide races. Some of the statewides will probably come in with %'ages less then the 27% Keyes received in '04.

Roskam should win - but that has more to do with the hard-R gerrymander of that district. It's only because of a collapsed GOP that those 2 Districts are even in play. Neither should be. But looks like McSweeney will probably lose. Really tragic. I like him a lot.

There is ZERO volunteer energy out there among Republicans. Most of our good people are too disgusted by all the sleaze and the lightweightness of most of our candidates and "leadership." And when people see guys like Bob Kjellander doing nothing but just getting rich on their titles - even dedicated Republicans start feeling like chumps for volunteering.

So yeah, with all the money and attention being thrown in - there is some GOTV energy in the Roskam and McSweeney races. But that's an isolated case. The State organization as a whole is weaker now than it's ever been - probably since Watergate.

Every serious Republican knows we need a total housecleaning after Tuesday. Hopefully Topinka's loss will clear out some of the deadwood and make that easier.

========================================================
From another viewer.....your hair looked absolutely fabulous.

========================================================


Hi Lynn,

I've thought about dropping you a line a gazzillion times but never quite got around to it...until now. What prompted me was seeing you last night on the panel with Joel Weisman on Channel 11.

In some ways I envy your line of work as being close to the wheels of the machinery of government. On the other hand after reading and watching the antics of so many of these national, state and local slimeballs over the years I don't know if I could stand it for as long as you have. (Incidentally, I apologize to slimeballs everywhere for including politicians in their group.)

I've always appreciated your column in 'The Bright One' because, in addition to your straight-on, no nonsense reporting, to my mind, you are very good at hiding your personal political leaning.

Finally, somewhere in the deep, dark recesses in what's left of my memory I vaguely recall a column that you discussed owning and driving a classic Mustang. Is that correct?

I bring that up because my 'toy' car is a low mileage '99 Miata, which I have just, (sniffle, sob) put into semi-hibernation for the winter.

Larry

LYNN SWEET REPLY
Larry....thanks for the note. I wrote a column in 2004 about renting a cool Mustang and driving it around Los Angeles...and to some studios around Burbank and getting a lot of attention. No one gives me a glance when in I drive around Washington in my 1994 Nissan Maxima.

Ground game rules - Scott Fornek and Lynn Sweet
http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2006/11/ground_game_rules.html
The battle to replace Rep. Henry Hyde, one of the most closely watched in the nation, is down to a massive war on the airwaves and intense get-out-the-vote drives.


"It's now the ground game," Democrat Tammy Duckworth said Sunday.

"This is where the ground game pays off," said GOP rival Peter Roskam.

It's rare agreement in what has been a brutal race in the west and northwest suburban 6th Congressional District that combined will cost more than $10 million, with most of the money spent on television ads. Polls -- public and those conducted for the campaigns -- show it's a tossup.

"All of the experts say that this race will be won or lost by 2,000 votes -- 1 or 2 percent. That's all it's going to be," Duckworth said.

Durbin, Obama lend a hand
Over the weekend, in three of the most competitive U.S. House races, the contenders focused on turning out votes on Tuesday.
Today, the two Illinois senators, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, blitz for Democrats in the biggest House races in northern Illinois: those involving Duckworth, Rep. Melissa Bean and Dan Seals.

Durbin and Obama will appear at rallies in Waukegan, Grayslake and Elmhurst.

"It will help gin up excitement to help turn out the vote," Seals said.

The wildly popular Obama comes off a national swing of stumping for other Democrats. But the campaign events may also be marked by questions about Obama's real estate deal with indicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko, since these are his first local appearances since the story broke last week.

Roskam and Republican David McSweeney, Bean's suburban 8th Congressional District challenger, both have news conferences today to counter the expected crush of attention Durbin and Obama will attract.


'Brutal' ads
Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, a Republican who is facing an unexpectedly strong multimillion-dollar challenge from Seals in the north suburban 10th Congressional District, is taking a different tack. Running ahead, Kirk is mainly trying to run out the clock and let his paid ads do his messaging.
Sunday morning, both Kirk and Seals did retail campaigning in Waukegan -- Kirk among Mexican Americans and Seals stopping by several black churches.

In the afternoon, they were looking for voters in the Cook County portion of the district.

Duckworth almost lost her March primary because of a weak field operation, and her campaign for months has focused on turning out the vote in an area represented by a Republican for the last 32 years.

At a plasterers and cement masons union hall in Villa Park, Duckworth told more than two dozen volunteers that they are the key to overcoming the TV ads Republicans have been running against her.

"The ccials are brutal," she said. "They're terrible."

Teen daughter helps out
Walking precincts in nearby Lombard with his 13-year-old daughter Frankie, Roskam said it's now all about getting out the vote.
"Every vote's going to come down to it in this campaign," he told Andy and Sandy Kranenborg, an engineer and homemaker, as he handed them a flier on their doorstep.

Democrats may be poised to reclaim the House for the first time since 1994. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the boss of the House Democratic political operation, declined to predict victory Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Said Emanuel, "I'm confident that we ... are playing offense across this country in every region of this country."

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Candidates out in force Sunday before election - John Chase and Mickey Ciokajlo

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-061105campaign,1,1732637.story?coll=chi-news-hed

Political candidates scrambled for votes in their final weekend of campaigning, and there was almost nowhere you couldn't find them Sunday -- at church, at brunch, even at the bar with Bears fans.

Republican Tony Peraica sought votes for Cook County Board president at a Chicago sports bar, shaking hands with customers while the Bears-Dolphins game blared from television. He shouted "Go Bears!" on his way out, and was long gone before the home team lost its first game of the season.

Peraica criticized Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for endorsing his opponent, Ald. Todd Stroger (8th), who is seeking to follow in the footsteps of his father, former board president John Stroger.

Todd Stroger hit a number of churches on Sunday. He told parishioners at 1st Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church that Peraica is "running scared." The Rev. James H. Thomas exhorted his congregation to support the "low-key" Stroger. If you want to be loud for him just go out and vote on the 7th. Amen? Amen!" Thomas said.

With only hours until voters begin to cast ballots on Tuesday, the two main candidates for governor toured Chicago-area churches, including Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich's visit to the South Side's massive House of Hope, led by a one-time potential challenger.

Republican Judy Baar Topinka attended a morning mass before heading out on the first stage of a two-day flyaround, maintaining that her candidacy was developing momentum as voters begin to focus on their choices for governor.

Blagojevich visited Salem Baptist Church's House of Hope services on the city's South Side. The church is headed by state Sen. James Meeks, who briefly considered a challenge to Blagojevich, before agreeing to work with the governor on a plan to sell or lease the state lottery to pump more money into public schools. The plan has met with lackluster support in the legislature.

"He and I had a meeting of the minds a few months ago on education," Meeks told the crowd.

Blagojevich saluted what he called "the greatest church on Earth," before ticking off his vow to expand health care, raise the minimum wage and pour more money into schools.

Republicans, meanwhile, pointed out revelations that Green Party candidate Richard Whitney was formerly a top official of the national Socialist Labor Party in hopes that anti-Blagojevich voters would choose Topinka instead of spending their protest vote on Whitney.

Outside Old St. Patrick's Church in the West Loop, Topinka maintained Whitney's previous association with the Socialist Labor Party would have little effect on the race-even though she spent recent days pleading with voters to consider her the only viable alternative to Blagojevich.

"I don't think anybody was particularly aware of that and I don't think it is mainstream Illinois," she said of Whitney's background. "But again, I have to stress that I don't think he is a big issue here."

Yet Topinka again repeated that she was "the only viable candidate" against Blagojevich.

"It's just the two of us," she said, intoning her campaign's TV ad slogan against Blagojevich, "Had enough?"

Door to door, face to face, race goes to wire  Duckworth, Roskam go to visit the voters - John Biemer

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/north/chi-0611060120nov06,1,3895280.story?coll=chi-newslocalnorth-hed

Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Tammy Duckworth worked to close the sale with voters in the west and northwest suburban 6th Congressional District on Sunday, each anticipating a tight finish to one of the most intense races in the country.

Roskam, a state senator from Wheaton, knocked on doors with his daughter, Frankie, 13, in Lombard, encouraging anyone who signaled their support to go to the polls Tuesday and telling them "the vote is going to be close." Roskam even went to homes displaying his campaign lawn signs.

"You don't want to take anything for granted," Roskam said as he approached another front door. "I think our momentum is good, but I'm not going to be the guy that's sitting at home the Sunday afternoon before the election."

While the district has been safely in Republican hands for decades, the retirement of longtime Republican Rep. Henry Hyde of Wood Dale has created a rare open-seat contest that Democrats nationally view as critical in taking control of the House.

The candidates and the national political parties have spent millions of dollars on TV advertising, but there was no substitute for face-to-face contact as the election loomed.

"You don't get to Congress without a lot of work," Roskam said. "Nobody hands you a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives."

A few miles to the east, along Roosevelt Road, Duckworth, a disabled veteran of the Iraq war, maneuvered her wheelchair around a brunch crowd at Kappy's restaurant in Villa Park.

Half a dozen senior women seated in a corner booth asked Duckworth her position on illegal immigration. As she explained her position, the women nodded their heads.

"Everything I do is going to be based on common sense," Duckworth told the women.

Two members of the group told Duckworth they had already voted early for her. But Jean Pinella, 65, of Lombard, said she was leaning toward Roskam based on TV ads she had seen attacking Duckworth's stances on illegal immigration.

"I'll be honest, I was not going to vote for her," Pinella said, but added that she was reconsidering after hearing Duckworth's explanation.

"I'm going to work really hard," Duckworth assured the group.

"If not," said Marie Steventon, 71, of Lombard, "we'll come after you."

For campaigns, home is where the rent is cheap, lease short - Jennifer Taylor

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0611060117nov06,1,4753027.story

Although gas is no longer being pumped at the abandoned service station on Washington Street in downtown Naperville, the local Republicans are getting great mileage out of the site.

The station, which was transformed into a campaign headquarters last spring for City Councilman Richard Furstenau, may top the list of quirkiest sites taken over as a temporary political space.

Typically, parties use vacant storefronts in strip malls because they're inexpensive, party leaders say. But in extreme cases they have taken over a vacant billiards store.

Furstenau, whose spring bid for state Senate came up short, said the former service station is an ideal location. It's so good, in fact, that Republicans from Lisle and Naperville Townships are using it this election season. "It had great in-and-out parking, great outdoor signage and it had a garage to pull into," Furstenau said. He laid carpet, built a temporary wall in the garage bay and painted, all for a minimal cost.

"The rent was very reasonable. It worked out, " he said.

The station is slated to meet the wrecking ball, possibly next year, Furstenau added.

Years ago, Milton Township Republicans temporarily occupied a former billiards retail shop, said Pam Mitroff, vice chairwoman of the township's Republican Central Committee. Currently, they are located in a bare-bones vacant space at Suburban Bank and Trust in Wheaton.

"It is not even finished," Mitroff said, adding that there is no carpeting or drywall. "If you have carpeting and flooring, that's pretty upscale."

Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam, who is vying for the 6th Congressional District seat, runs his campaign out of an older home in central Wheaton.

What's more common for political parties, according to Art Remus, Addison Township Democratic chairman, is setting up in vacant stores in strip malls. The spaces frequently become available, and leases can be secured cheaply. Air conditioning and heat are the basic amenities, he said.

"There's not a lot of money in local politics," Remus said.

"It's wherever the organization can find a temporary lease," said Barbara Murphy, DuPage County Republican Party chairwoman.

It is not uncommon for spaces to be donated because they are needed for only a matter of weeks leading up to the election. But campaign headquarters are not staffed the way they once were, Murphy said, recalling smoked-filled rooms packed with volunteers and open 12 hours a day.

Nowadays, spending priorities have changed, with more campaign funds funneled into TV ads, Murphy said.

If you cast only two votes: Topinka and Peraica - Editorial

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0611060198nov06,1,3996382.story

If you feel confused, or fatigued, or intimidated, you may not want to vote Tuesday. Would you, though, give 10 minutes to prove that deceit and smear ads shouldn't pay? To say you want an ounce of pride in the people you permit to spend your tax dollars, in your name, to shelter troubled girls and boys, and to provide health care to uninsured families?

We're asking you to vote for Judy Baar Topinka for governor. And if you live in Cook County, to vote for Tony Peraica for Cook County Board president. You don't have to share their every belief. You can, though, vote for them knowing they will disrupt the costly piracy by insiders that has corrupted your county and state governments.

If, however, you won't take those 10 minutes--if turnout is abysmal, so Peraica and Topinka lose their tight races--here's who profits:

If Peraica loses: The Chicago ward bosses who lied for months about County Board President John Stroger's health in order to scam his pliable son onto the ballot will have cheated their way to continued clout over contracts and jobs. They'll have gotten away with mugging every progressive Democrat who voted for Forrest Claypool in the March primary. And they'll have beaten back the reform agenda that many county voters first demanded in a 2002 election.

If Topinka loses: The fundraisers who allegedly schemed to extort money for the incumbent governor's campaign will have bankrolled his successful character assassination of Topinka in months of attack ads. The thugs will have triumphed while the rest of us whined--but did nothing--about their influence over this state.

We hope you'll cast more than two votes. The Tribune's editorial board has evaluated, and endorsed, candidates in most races up and down your ballot. That list will appear again in this space Tuesday. You can take it into the voting booth. We hope you use it as your guide, particularly in races where you're uncomfortable choosing.

One theory of newspaper endorsements says: Endorse likely winners so you can pretend you made the difference--and so they'll owe you favors. Our endorsement list instead identifies candidates we trust to provide decent public services for the people who rely on them--and to be honest with taxpayers' dollars.

You'll find Democrats and Republicans on the Tribune's list. You'll find Tammy Duckworth there, and Melissa Bean and Mark Kirk and Christine Radogno and others. We hope you'll support them. If you go your own way, fine. Just pause to ask yourself the question you'd ask before hiring someone to repair your car or baby-sit for your infant: Is this a person I trust?

Because the powers we hand to the winners Tuesday--by our votes or our neglect--are extremely valuable. Will the winners use those powers to efficiently take care of vulnerable people who depend on government services? Or will the winners use our tax dollars to reward cronies and crooks?

Two votes on Tuesday will be most critical. If you'll spare the minutes, you can renounce the Illinois culture of political sleaze. Or you can give that culture of sleaze bright prospects for more deals and crimes.

Judy Baar Topinka and Tony Peraica got where they are not by birthright or scheming, but by honest hard work. They deserve your votes. Their principal opponents--and the serial cheaters who got them where they are--do not.

Candidates sprint to finish  Topinka gets in shot at the Cubs to paint Blagojevich as `loser' - John Chase, Robert Becker, David Mendell, Mickey Ciokajlo, and Crystal Yednak

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0611060118nov06,1,5146244.story

Politicians closed out a furious final weekend of campaigning Sunday, playing to supporters and praying with parishioners to get voters to the polls.

Even sports fans weren't immune as the candidates worked audiences with last-minute intensity to lock in their loyalists and win over the undecided voters before Tuesday's general election.

Republican Tony Peraica sought votes for Cook County Board president at a Northwest Side sports bar while the Chicago Bears game blared from a TV. Downstate, Republican governor candidate Judy Baar Topinka suggested that Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich should manage the Chicago Cubs because "they're a bunch of losers too."

Blagojevich visited Salem Baptist Church's House of Hope on the South Side. The church is headed by state Sen. James Meeks, who considered challenging Blagojevich before agreeing to work with him on a plan to sell or lease the lottery to pump more money into public schools. The plan has met with little support.

"No matter what the media tried to do or say to paint us against each other, we knew that we were both passionate about education," Meeks said. "And we knew that if it came to it, we'd lock ourselves in a room, come to blows but still come out together with more money for kids, for education."

Blagojevich saluted what he called "the greatest church on Earth" before ticking off his vow to expand health care, raise the minimum wage and pour more money into schools.

On Saturday night, Blagojevich was a late cancellation at a Hindu celebration hosted by a banker whose ties to the governor's wife, Patricia, have come under scrutiny.

Blagojevich was to be the "chief guest" at the party marking the New Year in the Hindu calendar, according to an invitation. Patricia Blagojevich did attend the festivities at a Chicago hotel.

The event was sponsored by Mutual Bank and its president and CEO, Amrish Mahajan. Patricia Blagojevich earned more than $113,000 in real estate commissions this year as the agent on deals connected to Amrish Mahajan and his wife, Anita Mahajan.

Anita Mahajan is a longtime no-bid state contractor and Amrish Mahajan had bank regulatory business pending before the Blagojevich administration.

Blagojevich said he didn't attend the event because he was nursing a cold. He said he did not know it was headed by Amrish Mahajan.

"As far as I knew, it's just an Indian event," said Blagojevich, who said he has attended in the past.

State Republicans officials looked to help Topinka by pointing out that Green Party candidate Richard Whitney was formerly a top official of the national Socialist Labor Party. They hoped word of his past would steer potential protest votes away from Whitney and to Topinka.

Whitney responds

Whitney, who was the elected editor of the group's journal from 1989 to 1993, said he grew to disagree with many of its ideas, including those critical of capitalism.

"That's something I left behind 14 years ago," Whitney said Sunday. "I'm not a socialist."

In writing for the Green Party in the summer of 2001, Whitney said that bringing an end to corporate domination of economic and political institutions "is a necessity" and that fear of a resulting economic collapse "is rather hollow."

Throughout a day that took Topinka to Old St. Patrick's Church in the West Loop, a German festival in Lake Villa and a raucous rally in Springfield, the Republican said Whitney's previous political association would have little impact on the race. Still, she maintained that she is the only "viable alternative" to Blagojevich.

"We're on the verge of one of the biggest political upsets in the entire United States," she told the Springfield rally, which was joined by former Gov. Jim Edgar.

Earlier, in Bloomington, Topinka proposed a new job for Blagojevich after contending that he "abandoned" central Illinois.

`They need help'

"He probably spends more time over at Cubs park than he does over at the legislature," she said. "Maybe he ought to run for manager of the Cubs. They're a bunch of losers too and need some help."

When the group of about 25 supporters "ooohed," she said, "Well, they need some help."

Blagojevich said she should retract her statement.

"She's OK to call me a loser, if she wants," he said. "Go right ahead, I can handle it. But as a Cub fan, I'm defending my Cubs and she ought to retract the attack on the Cubs."

Peraica courted ethnic voters along North Milwaukee Avenue, but said he would continue working in African-American majority wards on the South Side.

"I am not conceding one inch here," Peraica said of the home base of his rival Ald. Todd Stroger (8th).

Stroger joined Blagojevich at the House of Hope on Sunday morning and visited African-American churches well into Sunday evening.

"Why are the churches important? Really, the base of my candidacy is the South Side," Stroger said to reporters after he spoke at Salem Baptist. "And you will find a large audience at the churches. ... They want to hear something."

After Stroger spoke briefly at the 1st Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, 7500 S. Halsted St., Rev. James H. Thomas told the congregation, "We're not going to lose the county. Amen."

SOUTHWEST HERALD NEWS

DIERSEN: VERY SAD: Ray Hanania insults Roskam, and therefore, insults Roskam's supporters

http://www.swnewsherald.com/online_content/2006/11/110506rh_stupid.php

Some Candidates Must Think Voters Are Stupid - Ray Hanania
Not everyone likes to give American voters much credit for being intelligent.

And I’m not just talking about foreigners. I’m talking about our own American politicians, whether the issue is some domestic policy or some foreign policy.

Our elected officials take us for granted. They tell us how much they care about us, when the reality is, they only care about themselves.

Take the example of our next President Barack Obama and his real estate dealings with indicted businessman Tony Rezko. How does a former state senator who jettisoned to the position of U.S. Senator buy a $1.6 million home?

Well, it probably takes a book intended to further your PR Spin, and maybe a few handshakes with a backroom dealer like Rezko whose problems with ethical behavior never seem to have an end.

Then there is this dude named Peter Roskam, the Republican fanatic (that’s redundant isn’t it) who is throwing so much mud at war veteran Tammy Duckworth that you wonder if he has a contract with Rezko on discounted per tonage mud.

Rezko -- err Roskam, is the Republican who wants to “bring change” to the Congress by succeeding his mentor, retiring Republican Congressman Henry Hyde.

What, are we that stupid to believe that garbage from Roskam? What change? Roskam is what people in the garment industry refer to as a label rip-off. He’s a fake Hyde. A Hyde-wannabe. But he should just go hide.

And he should apologize for his TV ads that are designed to scare the heck out of senior citizens that falsely alleged that Duckworth wants to destroy the Social Security system. That’s like accusing her of communism.

You know, you don’t have to live in the Roskam-Duckworth congressional battleground to be concerned by Roskam’s lying.

What politician wants to cut Social Security with the implication that they want to hurt senior citizens?

Maybe some politicians want to change the screwed-up Social Security system and find a better way to make sure that retiring seniors will get the money they earned after working hard all their lives to help support the people who came before them.

But to imply that Duckworth wants to destroy the Social Security System is so outrageous a lie that Roskam should be charged with felony truth-stretching.

Hey Roskam. Duckworth served in the U.S. Military during a war. What did you do? Last time I looked, nothing prevented you from enlisting in the military and picking up a semi-automatic weapon (that you don’t mind keeping on the streets of America) and fighting to defend America in Iraq.

But I’ll bet you don’t have what it takes to do that, do you?

Change to the Congress? Are you kidding. You are a typical Republican who loves to yell “Love it or leave it” to critics of the Iraq War, but they love to avoid military service.

Just ask another Republican, President George W. Bush, who hid from frontline service during the height of the Vietnam War by hiding in a statewide reserve unit.

(And please. Readers. Keep in mind that serving in the reserves during the Vietnam War is not the same as serving in the Reserves during this Iraq War. It’s the reservists who are being sent to this war, while during the Vietnam War only the privileged sons of clout-heavy politicians were able to get reserve and National Guard assignment. That was the point John Kerry was trying to make when other war-service-refusers started attacking him for a stumbled attempt at humor.)

The other guy who irks me is Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He spent months spending Tony Rezko’s campaigns donations to buy campaign ads that slung so much mud at Judy Baar-Topinka, who is not the best of campaigners.

And then he had the nerve to get on TV with a campaign ad that accused Topinka of calling him every name in the book.

I can forgive politicians who make mistakes. I can respect politicians who do things the public dislikes if they stand up for their actions and they base them on their principles. I want candidates who for once just tell us the truth.

In other words, don’t be a coward. If you hire you son for a job, defend it. Don’t try to make excuses.

What I can’t stand are hypocrites in public office. They point fingers at everyone else. They lie. They exaggerate. And they do everything they can to confuse voters, making false claims that people like Duckworth are trying to destroy the Social Security system.

Hypocrisy. That’s the standard we should use in deciding who to give our votes and who to oppose. Roskam is the epitome of hypocrisy, which makes him a George W. Bush “mini-me.”

And that is far from the “change”he promises to bring to Washington.

Pathetic!

Blagojevich is an arrogant incumbent surrounded by greedy consultants who are bleeding the state dry of ethics and morality.

How about a campaign commercial, Governor, explaining your real dealings with Rezko?

Now that would be a real change from the governor’s mud-slinging campaign themes.

Blagojevich Ads Are Misleading and False - Rich Miller

http://www.swnewsherald.com/online_content/2006/11/110606ov_mil_blagoads.php

Some of the last radio ads aired by Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign were just about a perfect microcosm of the entire governor’s race.

“Listen as Judy Baar Topinka runs down those who honor our veterans,” began one ad. “I’m a veteran. Served in Vietnam. Proud of my service. I was shocked by what Judy Baar Topinka said. Running down people who honor our soldiers,” started the other.

Both ads referred to a remark Topinka made about Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn’s commitment to veterans. Quinn has attended just about every wake or funeral of Illinois service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been a tireless fighter for veterans rights. After Topinka praised Quinn, she chastised him for not speaking out against Gov. Blagojevich’s skirting or even breaking state government hiring laws that give military veterans an advantage over non-veteran political hacks.

Story after story has documented how one politically connected player after another got around the veterans hiring rules by starting off as an “intern” (one such “intern” was over 60 years old). Some Chicago hacks were also hired for undesirable, low-pay parti-time jobs out in rural areas and then later the positions were moved to Chicago and made full-time. That’s apparently how Beverly Ascaridis was put into her state job, after her husband had written a $1,500 check to the Blagojevichs and after she had reportedly failed the state hiring test.

“I don’t want this to sound, you know, bad, but you have to do more than just go to funerals,” Topinka said at a campaign event.

Like so many other things that routinely emerge from Topinka’s mouth, she meant it, but it was over the top and probably not the most politically bright thing to say. Here’s a hint for all future candidates: If you find yourself starting a sentence with “I don’t want this to sound bad,” stop right there. You are heading for big trouble.

That ill-considered sentence was used to “prove” that Topinka is somehow anti-veteran, even though her own son is an officer in the military who served in Afghanistan and she has long been a military cheerleader — and even though the governor has clearly shafted untold numbers of veterans out of well-paid state employment so he could give jobs to his cronies.

The governor has repeatedly touted his “Veterans Care” healthcare plan, and used Topinka’s supposed opposition (she actually supported it) as further proof that she's anti veteran. But what he doesn't say is even after all the outreach only 500 veterans have inquired about the program and, word is, only three veterans have actually been signed up. The Illinois commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars called the program’s financing “suspect at best” back in September.

Polls show voters never believed much that Rod Blagojevich ever said. But they do believe what they see and hear, and the Blagojevich campaign masterfully used Topinka’s own words against her. “I love you dearly,” she said to George Ryan at an emotional State Fair event in 2002. The now infamous video clip of her speech, along with the reportedly electronically altered sight of her bobbing her head up and down as Ryan spoke at the podium was replayed about a billion times on TV. The Blagojevich people have built almost their entire campaign around that clip, which makes the case for them that she was “George Ryan's treasurer.”

The people who know Judy Baar Topinka know that almost all of the charges made by the Blagojevich campaign against her were baseless or just plain lies.

I’ve known Topinka for 16 years and I don’t believe she has a corrupt bone in her body. She’s too cheap to be corrupt. And I know for a fact that she does whatever she can for military veterans.

But the voters could see and hear Topinka talking about her “love” for George Ryan or saying something off the wall about unnamed people who care about veterans. And, understandably, they didn’t like it.

For way too long we’ve been an electorate that focuses on out of context quotes or laps up gotcha games that deliberately distort meaning just because we can see or hear the so-called “evidence” for ourselves. If voters don’t start seeing through this blatantly dishonest, cynical manipulation by the professional hucksters (both in politics and in the media), we’re heading for serious trouble.

SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN

Candidates seek to seal up votes on final weekend - Kurt Erickson

http://www.southernillinoisan.com/articles/2006/11/05/top/18082956.txt

SPRINGFIELD - The hours are dwindling for Illinoisans to make up their minds. With Election Day looming on Tuesday, polling data and unscientific surveys show that most voters are not satisfied with either of the major party candidates and are unsure whether to swing their vote to Green Party candidate Rich Whitney.

Barbara Burrell thinks she knows why.

The Northern Illinois University political scientist said the mindset of the electorate has been shaped by the constant drumbeat of corruption in state government, ranging from the federal indictment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's friend and advisor Antoin "Tony" Rezko to the recent conviction of former Gov. George Ryan.

"It's made people very discouraged," said Burrell. "People don't think anything will change under Blagojevich and they aren't sure Judy Baar Topinka will do anything different."

"I guess the strongest message people can send would be to vote for Whitney," she said.

As the campaign season entered its final weekend, Blagojevich planned to barnstorm across the state in an attempt to snatch up any wavering voters.

Topinka, his Republican challenger, continued to spread her message that Blagojevich had his chance and failed. She planned stops in Bloomington and Springfield Sunday before launching a statewide fly-around that will carry her into Monday.

She was spending some of that time trying to convince voters against fleeing to Whitney.

Whitney, whose support has crossed into the double-digits as the campaign has worn on, was planning to be in Chicago over the weekend. The Carbondale attorney is hoping to benefit from the bad blood and negative campaigning that has dominated the 2006 race.

His candidacy was buoyed last week when the Rockford Register-Star endorsed him. Since then, his under-funded campaign has bought radio and Internet ads.

Blagojevich, who has raised record amounts of campaign cash, has pummeled Topinka with millions of dollars in attack ads seeking to tie her to convicted former Gov. George Ryan.

Yet, despite leading in the polls, he also has had to contend with allegations of corruption within his administration after running in 2002 pledging to clean up government.

The negative atmosphere that surrounds the campaign has created the possibility of extremely low voter turnout.

According to state election records, voter turnout in the past three elections has hovered at 52 percent to 53 percent. The last time it topped 60 percent was in 1982, when 3.8 million voters when to the polls.

One factor that could have an effect on turnout is the fact that it is the first election since 1982 in which Illinois will not elect a U.S. senator and governor at the same time.

At the same time, this is the first year when voters could cast a ballot early without having to offer a reason or excuse. In March, the first election to feature so-called "Early Voting," about 7 percent of the tally was attributed to voters who took advantage of the new system.

While the gubernatorial contest has been the focal point of the election season, there are other spirited battles underway for statewide offices.

In the Secretary of State's race, incumbent Democrat Jesse White is seeking to keep his grip on the office against state Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa, who has said White should be ousted after two terms in the office.

State Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, is vying for state treasurer against political newcomer Alexi Giannoulias, a 30-year-old banker from Chicago .

In both those races, the Republicans are trailing in the polls and in fundraising.

Two quieter statewide races feature incumbent Comptroller Dan Hynes versus Republican state Sen. Carole Pankau and incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan versus Republican Stewart Umholtz, the Tazewell County state's attorney.

The election also will help determine the partisan make-up of the General Assembly.

Experts say it is unlikely that Republicans will gain enough seats to take control of the Democrat-led House and Senate. But, in several key districts throughout the state, the GOP is attempting to chip away at the Democratic dominance.

Among the hottest and most expensive legislative contests is one between state Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, versus Republican business Dick Cain of Decatur . Also, state Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, is in the midst of a tough battle against Carroll County Republican Steve Haring.

Both of those races are among a handful of legislative contests where spending has topped $1 million.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Illinois governor's race drawing close - Kevin McDermott
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/metroeast/story/FFAAFBE6027836878625721E001C6714?OpenDocument

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. — The two major-party candidates for Illinois governor spent
the last weekend of the campaign scouring for votes at airport rallies and
church pews, as they approach Tuesday's election in what some polls suggest is
a tightening race.

Meanwhile, politicos on both sides scrambled to predict the fallout of Green
Party candidate Rich Whitney's sudden problems.

Whitney, who has shown the potential to be a spoiler in the race, was wracked
over the weekend by an 11th-hour revelation that he was a prominent national
figure in the Socialist Labor Party in the early 1990s.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a first-term Democrat, has been consistently leading in
polls over his Republican challenger, state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, though
some polls in recent days have suggested she has pulled almost even with him.

Topinka attended Mass in Chicago Sunday morning, then flew to rallies in
Bloomington and Springfield to try to shore up the support of core Republicans
that will be crucial for any chance at beating Blagojevich, who is far better
funded and is running in a solidly Democratic state.

At a rally in a Springfield airport hangar Sunday before about 250 frenzied
Republican activists, Topinka declared a "dead heat" now, despite the millions
of dollars in negative television advertising that Blagojevich has thrown at
her. She called attention repeatedly to the federal probe into the
administration's hiring and contracting practices and predicted the
clean-government issue that swept Blagojevich into office four years ago would
sweep him back out on Tuesday.

"We're on the verge of one of the bbiggest political upsets in the entire
United States," Topinka told the cheering crowd.

Blagojevich was slated on Sunday to talk to at least nine churches in and near
Chicago.

At the Apostolic Church of God on Chicago's South Side, Bishop Arthur Brazier
praised Blagojevich's accomplishments and assured the congregation that any
corruption in the administration was the fault of those around the governor but
not the governor.

"There's some people around him, but there are people around all of us who have
problems," Brazier said.

The governor asked parishioners for another term as he revisited familiar
campaign-trail mantras on health care, kindergarten and the minimum wage.

"We have a lot more work to do," Blagojevich said.

The new wildcard introduced into the race on Sunday was the sudden cloud over
Whitney, the Green Party candidate who has garnered 10 points or more in some
media polls. That unusually strong showing for a third party has been
attributed to high negative voter feelings toward both Blagojevich and Topinka.

Whitney on Sunday confirmed new media reports that he was a socialist from 1975
to 1992 and that he served as editor of The People, the national party's
newspaper.

"I never really tried to hide it," Whitney said in a telephone interview with
the Post-Dispatch late Sunday. "It's not relevant. This is something I left
behind me 14 years ago."

Political experts have had different theories about which of the mainstream
candidates has been most hurt by Whitney and which of them, therefore, would be
most helped by the collapse of his campaign.

"I don't think anybody knows who it's going to hurt," one Republican operative
in Springfield, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Sunday night.

Topinka and Blagojevich are scheduled to crisscross the state today in a final
push for votes.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Blagojevich draws praise for programs, attention from prosecutors - John O'Connor
http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/politics/15937593.htm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Rod Blagojevich had big plans - and even bigger challenges - when he was sworn in as Illinois' 40th governor in January 2003, the first Democrat to hold the office in 26 years.

After an undistinguished career in the Illinois House and three terms in Congress, Blagojevich wanted to be seen as a bold leader, bucking the establishment to get things done.

And his actions during his first term have reflected - or perhaps in part directed - the state's swing from the GOP to one firmly in the Democrats' column.

He raised the minimum wage, poured more than $1 billion extra into public schools, initiated programs to offer health insurance and preschool to every child in the state.

He kept his pledge not to raise income or sales taxes and says he's erased a multibillion-dollar state deficit.

Along the way, though, he ruffled feathers and bruised feelings, engendered distrust among friends and foes alike and drew the attention of federal prosecutors, who are investigating his administration's role in alleged hiring fraud and a kickback scheme in the teachers' pension program.

Blagojevich's rise to the state's top office was made possible, in part, by a very different political landscape in 2002.

Gov. George Ryan was stepping down in disgrace after one term, under investigation for racketeering that this year led to a 6 1/2-year federal prison sentence. With the help of a powerful Chicago alderman father-in-law, Blagojevich formed an exceptional statewide organization that raised millions of dollars.

Then, pledging "reform and renewal" and running against the unluckily named Republican Attorney General Jim Ryan, Blagojevich streamed to victory.

His term started strong.

Claiming he was inheriting a $5 billion deficit and voter distrust, he hurt lawmakers' feelings by not taking them into his confidence, as Ryan had done, but won enough votes to pass a tricky sale of $10 billion in bonds. He used the proceeds to make a sizable deposit into the state's pension systems and to shore up the budget.

He used gubernatorial powers to rewrite ethics legislation, adding an inspector general to investigate corruption in the executive branch - a fact he rarely fails to mention in his re-election campaign. He doesn't mention how last year he promised changes in campaign fundraising that would "rock the system," then never followed through.

Blagojevich raised the minimum wage above the federal level, to $6.50 an hour in 2005, though business groups claimed it would drive commerce from Illinois.

"Working people will have a little extra money to spend every week and every month," Blagojevich said at the time. "They'll spend it on things that they need and businesses will be the beneficiaries of it."

But by late 2003, the honeymoon was over.

After his first legislative session, Blagojevich angered many officeholders by cutting programs lawmakers said were promised in return for cooperation and the budgets of constitutional officers. When legislators tried to restore cuts in the fall veto session, the governor called them "drunken sailors" on a "spending orgy."

In 2004, he won more control over the independent State Board of Education. But he was locked in a record 54-day overtime legislative session when Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago teamed with Republicans lawmakers to oppose what they called over-borrowing and overspending.

Blagojevich began brokering back-room deals that have become standard for a governor who proclaimed in May 2003: "The old days with the Legislature and the governor sitting behind closed doors, carving the budget up and not talking to the people, and them not knowing where their money is going, are over for as long as I'm governor."

Blagojevich mended fences in 2005 and, ensuring he kept his no-tax-hike pledge into this year's election, agreed to skip for two years the state's obligatory contribution to retirees' pensions - $2.2 billion in all. He claimed reforms he made to pension benefits would result in future savings that would make up for the missed payments.

Blagojevich continued to win praise for several groundbreaking initiatives.

He signed a bill banning discrimination of gays and lesbians; offered state-subsidized health insurance to every child, regardless of family income; and started importing low-cost drugs from other countries.

He increased education spending by $1.6 billion over four budgets, although he fell short of a pledge to increase the minimum spent on each student by $250 per year or commit 51 percent of all new state revenue to education. And higher education has undergone severe cuts under his watch.

He won approval to extend preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds by 2011, but acknowledges it will take tens of millions of dollars every year before there's enough money.

Last year, he signed a medical malpractice reform measure limiting the amount of money patients can collect for pain and suffering and giving state regulators more power over insurance rates.

But blemishes began to appear.

A rift with his father-in-law, Chicago Alderman Richard Mell, resulted in allegations by Mell that Blagojevich associates had traded jobs for campaign contributions. Mell later recanted, but investigators stepped in.

An audit of Blagojevich's purchasing agency found mismanagement and potentially illegal activity by a firm hired to help streamline state government. A high-level executive in the governor's Transportation Department was involved in getting a state contract for his brother-in-law to pressure-wash road-salt barns.

Federal prosecutors continue to investigate the administration's hiring practices, as well as an alleged pension kickback scheme that has produced three guilty pleas and the indictment of a prominent Blagojevich fundraiser.

Blagojevich has not been accused of wrongdoing, but his opponent, Republican state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, has tried to lay the scandals squarely on the shoulders of the man who four years ago promised "reform and renewal."

Blagojevich looks for church support as GOP targets Green candidate - Christopher Wills
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/politics/elections/15938595.htm

CHICAGO - Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka will make a final push to win over voters before Election Day by traveling around the state Monday.

Topinka is scheduled to start her day in Chicago before making campaign stops that include Champaign and Murphysboro in southern Illinois. Blagojevich's travels include Cahokia in the Metro East, the Quad Cities and Rockford.

But on Sunday, even amid uplifting music and shouts of encouragement at friendly churches, Blagojevich couldn't avoid the occasional reminder of why his bid for a second term has been so difficult.

One minister brought up the scandal swirling around the Blagojevich administration, telling his flock to "look past that." The next minister alluded to the fact he nearly mounted a third-party challenge to Blagojevich before the two reached an agreement on school spending.

Still, both men praised Blagojevich and their congregations greeted him enthusiastically as he asked for another term to improve health care, expand kindergarten and preschool programs, and ban assault weapons.

"We have a lot more work to do," the Democratic governor said.

Republican Judy Baar Topinka's campaign, eager to capture every anti-Blagojevich vote she can, called attention to the disclosure Green Party candidate Rich Whitney was once an official in the Socialist Labor Party.

She called it an "interesting revelation" and repeated her frequent assertion she is the real choice for voters unhappy with the incumbent.

"It's between Rod Blagojevich and me. If you like what Rod's doing, fine, but I think most people are fed up," she said after celebrating mass at Old St. Patrick's Church in Chicago.

Whitney resigned from the party in 1993, and his campaign says he no longer advocates socialist policies. The Carbondale attorney has said little or nothing about his socialist past during the campaign but says he wasn't trying to hide it.

Whitney was supported by 7 percent of Illinois voters in one recent poll. Others have shown him above 10. Republican officials fear that in a tight race, he might take enough votes away from Topinka to tip Tuesday's election to Blagojevich, who declined to comment on Whitney.

After attending church, Topinka visited a German harvest festival in Lake Villa and then headed downstate. Former Gov. Jim Edgar joined her at a Springfield rally, continuing his role as something of an ambassador for Topinka.

In person and in campaign ads, the popular Republican reassures skeptical voters that they can trust Topinka, and Topinka points to Edgar as the kind of governor she would be.

"We stop the corruption, we stop the fiscal mismanagement, and we usher in a new era - an era that's gonna be hopefully as good as Jim Edgar's, a real good era," she said.

Topinka continued to fire barbs at Blagojevich, a well-known Cubs fan. She said he spends more time at the ballpark than he does at the Legislature.

"Maybe he ought to run for manager of the Cubs," she quipped in Bloomington. "They're a bunch of losers, too, and need some help."

Blagojevich didn't appreciate the comment.

"If she wants to say I'm a loser and call me names ... God bless her, but leave the Cubs alone," he said. "She ought to retract the attack on the Cubs."

Blagojevich spent the day visiting largely black churches in the Chicago area.

At the Apostolic Church of God, Bishop Arthur Brazier praised Blagojevich's accomplishments and told the congregation that any corruption in the administration, which is under federal investigation, is the fault of those around the governor but not the governor himself.

"There's some people around him, but there are people around all of us who have problems," Brazier said. "He has been squeaky clean and has done nothing that is corrupt."

Blagojevich's next stop was the Salem Baptist Church, led by the Rev. James Meeks, a state senator who strongly considered running against Blagojevich. He dropped the idea after Blagojevich promised to come up with more school money by selling the state lottery to private interests.

Meeks told the thousands of people in his congregation that he and Blagojevich were able to agree because "we knew we were both passionate about education."

In this final weekend of the governor's race, Blagojevich has emphasized his desire to offer universal health care.

"Give us another four years so we can give everybody in Illinois access to affordable health care," he said recently.

Spokeswoman Sheila Nix said Sunday that Blagojevich is not proposing a single government-run health system that would provide free care for everyone. Instead, she said he wants to expand health programs created for the poor, so that more families would be allowed to pay premiums and join.

In essence, people could pay to enroll in the state Medicaid program.

Nix said she didn't know what the program would cost or how quickly the governor would try to pass it. She said premiums probably would cover 80 percent of the additional cost to the state, and Medicaid cost-cutting would cover the rest.

Topinka says the proposal is one more example of the governor making promises the state can't afford to keep.

SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL REGISTER

Q&A on Election Day  Here are the questions Illinois voters will answer Tuesday - Bernard Schoenburg

http://www.sj-r.com/sections/news/stories/99897.asp

Governor
Can months of negative television advertisements, coupled with a smattering of new programs - including some that have yet to prove they are useful or can be paid for - overcome a previously well-liked opponent and a steady stream of troubling questions about ethics in your own administration and family? Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich will find out.

Will a long alliance with the disgraced George Ryan, plus a habit of ungovernor-like comments - like calling primary opponents "morons" or saying Blagojevich has "little weasel eyes" - keep state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka from ascending to the governor's office?

Can disgust with the two established political parties provide a vote bonanza for a third-party candidate with some provocative opinions? The Green Party's Rich Whitney will find out.

Other statewide races

-- Attorney general: Have enough people heard of Stewart Umholtz for him to make a race of it against incumbent Lisa Madigan? David Black is on the ballot for the Green Party.

-- Secretary of state: Jesse White has a longstanding reputation as a good guy, dating from his children's tumbling team days, and he hired a former U.S. attorney as his office's inspector general. Will that be enough to withstand state Sen. Dan Rutherford's attempts to link White to allegations of nepotism and corruption? The Green Party candidate, Karen "Young" Peterson, has moved out of state.

-- Comptroller: Did Comptroller Dan Hynes' loss to Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate a couple of years ago do him any political damage? Has Republican state Sen. Carole Pankau gained any traction by characterizing Hynes as a "lap dog" for Blagojevich - even though Hynes and the governor actually aren't very close politically? Alicia Snyder is on the ballot for the Green Party.

-- Treasurer: Will the contest for state treasurer, as the polls predict, be the closest of the down-ballot races? Will Alexi Giannoulias' youth, money, enthusiasm on the stump and support from Obama trump a family bank that has given loans to some shady characters? Does a Democrat have to have the support of Mike Madigan, his own state party chairman? Or will Republican state Sen. Christine Radogno carry the day? The Green Party candidate is Dan Rodriguez Schlorff.

17th Congressional District

Can Phil Hare be stopped in a district that might as well be the result of a class project in Gerrymandering 101? Or does the retirement of longtime Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island, Hare's former boss, leave an opening for anti-abortion Republican Andrea Zinga?

18th Congressional District

Can what looks like a Democratic year spill over into the congressional district of incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood - even though Democrat Steve Waterworth has raised virtually no money?

19th Congressional District

Is it possible that U.S. Rep. John Shimkus' seemingly harmless duty as chair of the House Page Board - where he became entangled in the Mark Foley scandal - left the 10-year incumbent vulnerable to underfunded but passionate Democrat Danny Stover?

49th Congressional District

Will a great political name and a strong Democratic base stand up to an aggressive Republican challenger and downstate disillusionment with the governor of your own party? State Sen. Deanna Demuzio, D-Carlinville, will find that out in her contest with Taylorville Ald. Jeff Richey.

99th House District

Can Democrat Sam Cahnman's imaginative attempts to identify himself with the open primary and other high-profile issues overcome a dozen years of incumbent goodwill built up by state Rep. Raymond Poe?

Sangamon County Sheriff

Can a popular former deputy with a track record of working with schoolchildren unseat perhaps an even more popular lawman who still is known for his days with CrimeStoppers? Sangamon County Sheriff Neil Williamson is challenged by Democrat Chico Belle.

Advisory referendums

Will voters in Capital Township, many of whose political leanings are demonstrated by "Support Our Troops" signs, tell Washington that U.S. forces should be withdrawn from Iraq? And will voters in a dozen central Illinois townships send a message to their own state Capitol, asking for an open primary system in Illinois? The counting of their secret ballots will reveal their views.

Republicans: Big turnout needed in Sangamon County - Bernard Schoenburg
http://www.sj-r.com/sections/news/stories/99993.asp

A strong Republican turnout in Tuesday’s election can help Judy Baar Topinka become the state’s chief executive, the Sangamon County GOP faithful were told Sunday night at an airport rally for Judy Baar Topinka and others on the GOP ticket.


“We need you to get every voter that we can to the polls, because if we get our vote out on Tuesday, Judy Baar Topinka will be the next governor of the state of Illinois,” former Gov. Jim Edgar said, generating cheers from about 400 people at the Levi, Ray & Shoup hangar at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.

Edgar recalled that the Sunday before he was elected governor in 1990, “all the polls had me behind,” but by working hard to get votes out in the precincts, he said, he beat Democrat Neil Hartigan.

He also said later he thinks there is “a lot more enthusiasm about this election downstate,” and that sentiment is against Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Also at the rally was former first lady Brenda Edgar, who said it is usually “fine with me” to leave the politics to her husband, but she wanted to travel Sunday with Topinka because she shares her husband’s concern about the direction of the state.

“Jim and I have known Judy for more than 20 years,” Brenda Edgar said. “Judy’s opponent, as you also know, has spent millions and millions of dollars in ads attacking her. Please don’t believe one word. Judy’s honest, hardworking, smart. She’s a woman of great integrity.”

Citing a poll done last week for Copley Illinois Newspapers, Topinka said her race Blagojevich is in a “dead heat.” That poll showed Blagojevich with a four-point advantage - just within the margin of error. Some other recent polls gave Blagojevich double-digit leads.

“We’re on the verge of one of the biggest political upsets in the United States,” Topinka said. She also reinforced a recent campaign message that votes for Green Party candidate Rich Whitney, who is also on the ballot for governor, would help keep Blagojevich in office.

“Those who don’t vote or those who vote for someone else only help Rod Blagojevich get four more years,” Topinka said.

According to a story on the Web site of The Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Whitney was a Socialist from 1975 to 1993, and was editor of The People, the newspaper of the Socialist Labor Party.

“I’m not a socialist now,” he told the publication. “A lot of people did things in the ’60s and ’70s they don’t do now.”

Joe Birkett, Topinka’s running mate, said voters who want to change Illinois have “got to take a look at the candidates and what their backgrounds are.” He said Topinka “has a 25-year record of clean government, solid leadership.”

In her speech, Topinka said Blagojevich still faces several investigations of his administration and personal finances, including the statement from the Chicago-based U.S. attorney that there is evidence of “endemic hiring fraud” in the administration, and that an indicted top Blagojevich fundraiser was involved with “pay-to-play on steroids.” There was also the revelation that a Blagojevich daughter got a $1,500 present from a longtime family friend whose wife got a state job.

Noting that she picked Birkett, the DuPage County state’s attorney, as her running mate, Topinka said: “That’s the difference between me and Rod Blagojevich. I’m running with law enforcement. He’s running from law enforcement.”

Blagojevich has not been charged with any wrongdoing, and Blagojevich campaign spokeswoman Sheila Nix noted that Blagojevich has been endorsed for re-election by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Topinka, who also visited Chicago, Lake Villa and Bloomington Sunday, and will continue her fly-around today. Also with her in Springfield were U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, state Sen. Dan Rutherford of Chenoa, who is running for secretary of state; state Sen. Christine Radogno, who is running for state treasurer; Taylorville Ald. Jeff Richey, who is seeking the 49th Senate District seat in the legislature, and state Reps. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, and Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg.

“I think Sangamon County is on fire - I really do,” said Sangamon County GOP chairman Tony Libri, who emceed the Springfield rally. “I have had this peaceful feeling about this governor’s race for months now. … I don’t know what you’d call it. But I’ve just been confident she (Topinka) is going to win.”

Blagojevich was scheduled to make a stop at the Springfield airport today, a person at his Chicago campaign office said.

USA TODAY

"On the House side, Republicans spent $1.1 million in a single day to help Peter Roskam hold off Democrat Tammy Duckworth in Illinois."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-11-05-elections-money_x.htm

NEW YORK TIMES

Pat Quinn: Executive Pay Becomes Political - Gretchen Morgenson

http://select.nytimes.com/2006/11/05/business/yourmoney/05gret.html

ANGER over outsize executive pay has, of course, been a feature in the election of corporate directors in recent years. But it has not really surfaced as an issue in state or local politics.

Until now. As Illinois voters head to the polls Tuesday, executive compensation at the state’s two major utility companies will be much on their minds. Looming electricity rate increases — consumers’ bills are set to rise by 25 percent and those of small business by as much as 75 percent — will result in fatter pay for those running the utilities even as the very same increases lighten the wallets of consumers.

First, a little history. In 1997, Illinois amended its public utility act to allow competition to determine electricity rates. Rates were discounted and a freeze was instituted while the market adjusted and competition developed. The freeze ends Jan. 2.

Two companies that provide energy to Illinois customers — the Ameren Corporation and the Exelon Corporation — are delighted at the prospect of getting out from under the rate freeze. That is no surprise.

But neither is the fact that the rate increase has become a huge political issue. Both Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Republican opponent, Judy Baar Topinka, the state treasurer, have said they would call a special session of the Illinois legislature to extend the rate freeze. Voters have been urged to support legislators who will vote to keep rates frozen.

Where does executive pay come in? Ameren and Exelon executives stand to enjoy stock option gains, not because they have worked managerial magic on their bottom lines, but simply because consumers are paying more for electricity. Opponents of the rate increase have shrewdly framed the situation in these terms.

Last May, Ameren’s shareholders approved a new and considerably more generous stock incentive plan for its top executives and high-level managers. According to the company’s proxy, the plan set aside four million new shares of Ameren stock worth $214 million, well above the one million shares covered by the previous plan.

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who opposes the rate increase, said the new stock plan seemed engineered to capture a windfall from the rate increase for Ameren executives. The rate increases are expected to propel the shares of both companies, making the stock options held by the executives more valuable.

Last year, Mr. Quinn pointed out, the company’s top five executives received packages totaling $7.4 million. Ten family members of Ameren’s top officers received compensation of $1.3 million in 2005. Ameren is the parent company of Illinois Power and Central Illinois Public Service, among other entities.

Executive pay at neighboring Exelon is even higher. The top five executives at the company, parent of the ComEd utility, received packages amounting to $47 million last year, including option exercises. They also stand to benefit from the rate increase because stock options account for much of their pay, he said.

“Clearly, these multimillionaire executives have simply lost touch with the financial realities facing the average working person in the Land of Lincoln,” Mr. Quinn said. “An Illinois worker earning the minimum wage would have to work three full days to pay the proposed rate increase; it would take the C.E.O. of Exelon one minute to earn that amount.”

The rate increase is the result of a reverse auction, in which energy providers bid to supply electricity to the Illinois utilities. Critics of the deal say that it was not a real auction because some of the power generators bidding to supply the energy were subsidiaries of Ameren and Exelon, affiliates of the very companies buying the power. The utility companies maintain that the auctions were fair because they were overseen by federal regulators and involved multiple parties.

Both Exelon and Ameren have prospered in recent years; Exelon’s Web site says it is “the most consistently profitable electricity and gas company in the United States.” In the last three years, its income, before the effects of an accounting change, has increased by 22 percent over all. Ameren’s income, also before the accounting change, has risen 24 percent in the period. Customers have also enjoyed artificially low electricity rates throughout this time.

During the freeze, both utilities have had low-cost contracts that allowed them to maintain profitability. Now they will have to pay higher prices for energy; if they cannot pass the costs on to their customers, they face enormous shortfalls. Susan Gallagher, an Ameren spokeswoman, says the company’s shortfall will be $1 billion in 2007, significantly above the $600 million the company earned last year.

Both utilities predict dire consequences, even bankruptcy, if the rate increase is overturned. As required by law, Ameren has sent letters to more than 700 employees warning that mass layoffs could result if the rate freeze is extended. “We currently anticipate that layoffs, should they become necessary, will be permanent,” stated a letter dated Oct. 20, written by a manager of labor relations, and sent to a worker in Lawrenceville, Ill. “It is currently anticipated that in the event such a layoff becomes necessary, you will be laid off immediately,” the letter said.

Given Ameren’s layoff warnings and talk of bankruptcy, is there any discussion of pay cuts in the executive suite? “There is obviously discussion about sacrifice on all our parts,” Ms. Gallagher said. “But our executives are among the lowest paid in the industry — our C.E.O. is at half the median in the electric power industry. And he is paid 12 times the average lineman; the average top executive was paid more than 170 times average worker earnings.”

GARY SNODGRASS, chief human resources officer at Exelon, said its executive pay is purely based on performance. “We peg compensation targets at the 50th percentile of a peer group consisting of 24 companies,” he said. “Then the actual pay that people receive is based upon performance. We have consistently outperformed our competitors.”

John W. Rowe, Exelon’s chief executive, gave $1.4 million to charity last year, almost half his salary and bonus, a company spokeswoman said.

A bankruptcy filing by utility subsidiaries at Ameren and Exelon is a real possibility, according to Philip C. Adams, a debt analyst at Gimme Credit, an independent research firm that specializes in high-grade corporate debt. Bondholders and stockholders would be hurt, of course, but he also noted that Illinois utility customers could wind up paying higher prices in the short-term if the companies filed for bankruptcy.

Sounds as if everybody loses in that ugly scenario. Except that those in the executive suite always seem to escape hardship, even when their companies file for bankruptcy. Think U.S. Airways, Delphi, United Airlines.

Which is why executive pay has become an easy football for politicians to pick up and run with. As the situation in Illinois illustrates, executive pay is now much more than just a shareholder issue; it sits squarely in the political mainstream.

It is no fun being a target, a whipping boy. But executives do have a choice in matters like these. They could give back some of their pay and defuse their critics. If they don’t, well, the problem is theirs to own.

LIBERTY SUBURBAN NEWS

Election Day will make someone's day - Jack Zimmerman

http://www.libertysuburban.com/story.php?pub=1&sid=70757

Here's the thing about elections. Somebody wins and somebody loses. If you voted for the winner, you feel really good the morning after Election Day. Your candidate, who in some way represents your political beliefs, beat the other candidate who had opposing beliefs.

Your candidate's victory allows you to puff out your chest and take pride in the fact that you are right about something. A majority of voters have seen things exactly the way you have.

It's as if you had followed and supported a team all through baseball season (these days political campaigns are as long as a couple of baseball seasons) and then watched them win the World Series.

There is a major difference, though. Once the World Series is played, baseball season is over. Players put away their bats and mitts, temporarily halt their product endorsements and head home to their families until spring training. The slate is wiped clean and the Pennant races begin anew.

Your candidate's election victory is only the beginning. Now he or she has to serve a two-, four- or six-year term, and within that term will inevitably screw up something big time.

He or she will put her name on some bit of idiotic legislation, say something stupid in front of the press or associate with the wrong people. Worse than all that, he or she might have done something in a long political career that was a bit questionable in the ethics department.

All that post-election chest-puffing you enjoyed quickly vanishes when the guy you voted for is named in a federal indictment.

This is why on every Election Day I stand in a voting booth and do my absolute best to vote for the loser. Yes, I miss a couple of days of chest-puffing pride that I would have enjoyed had my candidate won.

But what can compare with seeing an elected official hauled off to the pokey on corruption charges and being able to say, "I didn't vote for him."

Most elected officials aren't corrupt, but they are human. One time or another, even the savviest politician will make a bonehead mistake or a colossal blunder or have a dangerous lapse in judgment.

I figure, why should a lowly voter share in any of the blame for it? That's why I always toss my votes at the people who are sure to lose.

Problem is that this year, there are plenty of tight races, and I can't figure out who's going to come out on top or -- more important -- on the bottom. I could mistakenly vote for a winner and have to live with several years of regrets when my guy is caught making shady real estate deals or is seen romancing a young intern named Lola.

To play it safe, voters like me will have to resort to write-in candidates.

* Illinois Gubernatorial Race: Candidates are Rod Blagojevich and Judy Barr Topinka.

Regardless of what the polls currently say, I figure this one to be a squeaker. I'm considering writing in Oprah because she lives in Illinois, has plenty of connections and there's always the chance that she'd plug my novel on her show.

* 6th Congressional District: Tammy Duckworth and Peter Roskam -- No lack of TV exposure here. Problem is that almost all of it is in the form of negative ads. I recommend writing in Clint Eastwood. He's tough, at ease in front of the camera and was once mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. He'd be great to watch whenever one party or the other tried some funny stuff.

I'd just love hearing him say "make my day."

ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN PARTY

Whitney Revelations of Socialist Past - Mike Zolnierowicz
www.ilgop.org
CHICAGO - Today a Daily Herald article revealed that Rich Whitney was not only a member of the Socialist Labor Party of America but served as editor of "The People," the socialist party newspaper. Whitney admitted in the article "he hadn't told any Illinois reporters about his Socialist past until the Daily Herald called him late Saturday for confirmation." (Daily Herald - 11/5/06)

Whitney is quoted as writing:
"Socialism is a system that has yet to come into existence. It is a system that will come into existence when the working class of an advanced industrialized capitalist society like the United States recognizes that private ownership of the means of production no longer serves the social interest and is incapable of meeting the workers' needs." (Daily Herald, 11/5/06)

"Rich Whitney has deliberately misled the voters of Illinois about his past and his 20 years as a member of the Socialist Labor Party of America," said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna.

"These revelations about Whitney's extreme views show voters now more than ever that this election is between Judy Baar Topinka and Rod Blagojevich," said McKenna. "On Tuesday when voters step into the voting booth, they need to know if they want a change from Rod Blagojevich's broken promises, they need to vote for Judy Baar Topinka to move this state forward."

Link to Radio Actuality: Andy McKenna on Whitney 11-05-06

BOB SCHILLERSTROM

DIERSEN HEADLINE: Schillerstrom urges everyone to vote for all the Republican candidates

www.BobSchillerstrom.com

This Tuesday, November 7, is Election Day.  Many say it is one of the most important mid-term elections in recent history.

Only by voting REPUBLICAN will suburban voters have a strong voice in Springfield.

Please vote for Judy Baar Topinka who has pledged to freeze property taxes for two years.  Joe Birkett, running for Lt. Governor is the DuPage County State’s Attorney and has pledged to use his experience to route out corruption.

Senator Carole Pankau and Senator Christine Radogno are fiscal conservatives who are running for State Comptroller and State Treasurer, respectively.

Republican Secretary of State candidate Dan Rutherford is the Vice President of ServiceMaster Corporation in Downers Grove.  His experience will bring increased efficiency and accountability to the operations of the Secretary of State.

Our Republican candidate for Attorney General is Stewart Umholtz.

No matter in what Congressional District you live, you have excellent Republican choices.

DuPage County State Senator Peter Roskam is running in a nationally watched congressional race.  His opponent does not even live in the district and is almost totally funded by national Democratic interests. Peter Roskam has represented us very well in Springfield and he will represent our interests in the United States Congress.

Congresswoman Judy Biggert has been strongly endorsed by every newspaper.  She has worked for the people of DuPage and I urge you to vote for her  for Congress, so she can continue working hard for us.

Illinois has been fortunate to have J. Dennis Hastert as a Congressman and as Speaker of the House.  Speaker Hastert is a committed, caring and ethical public official. All of Illinois and all of our country will be well served by returning Speaker Hastert to Congress.

All Politics is local.  Though the DuPage County-wide elected officials are not contested, please cast your vote for all of them.

Please vote for the following highly qualified DuPage County Board candidates:

District 1

Yolanda Campuzano

Donald E. Puchalski

District 2

Brien Sheahan

Jeff Redick

District 3

Thomas F. (Tom) Bennington

Kyle Aubrey Gilgis

District 4

Grant Eckhoff

Jerry ‘JR” McBride

District 5

James D. Healy

Michael Connelly

District 6

James F. “Jim” Zay

Linda Kurzawa

Forest Preserve District 4

Michael (Mike) Formento

Local officials need the help we get from our great Republican legislators.  Dependent on your district, please vote for the following State Representatives: 

State Representative Robert “Bob” Biggins

State Representative Sandra Pihos

State Representative Franco Coladipietro

State Representative Dennis M. Reboletti

State Representative Patricia R. “Patti” Bellock

State Representative Jim Meyer

State Representative Randy Ramey

State Representative Paul Froelich

State Representative Angelo “Skip” Saviano

State Representative Jim Durkin

State Representative Tom Cross

State Representative Mike Fortner

State Representative Joe Dunn

Our American right to vote is envied the world over.  Please take the time to exercise your right to vote, and please VOTE REPUBLICAN.

TOM ROESER

Having Solved the Archdiocese’s Credibility Problems, Cardinal George Knows Why the World Doesn’t Trust the U. S.

http://www.tomroeser.com/blogview.asp?blogID=23096

It’s always refreshing to hear Catholic bishops pronounce their solutions to the world’s…and this nation’s…problems. The Bishops constructed the “seamless garment” theory during the days of the Cold War and struck hard at Ronald Reagan, using their miters and staffs, to instruct him that nuclear freeze and reconciliation can end the threat of nuclear holocaust. Reagan pursued his own course which was the more prudent one. The bishops then instructed us on how to alleviate poverty through distribution of wealth. Since Republicans have been in control nationally, they followed the more prudent course of tax cuts and reduced regulation which the result that this nation is in the strongest economic position in its history.

I would really think that with the Catholic church in dire straits, with some dioceses going bankrupt because of the inability of bishops to control their errant priests…because of the inability of lack of foresight of bishops to reform their seminaries…they would spare giving us lectures on how the U. S. should be perceived by the world-as none other than Francis Cardinal George did to an admiring audience at the Chicago Catholic Theological Seminary. For one who is either unable to achieve reform…who has confessed inability to keep the archdiocese’s word to curb those priests who are menaces to children…a bishop must be brimming with what could be called manic exhilaration in order to give the nation instructions on how to deal with other nations. This writer has just finished a series of articles for the nation’s oldest national Catholic weekly on the disgraceful conduct going on in two of our largest so-called Catholic universities-involving fiestas of homosexuality and abortion…all the while not a word of disapproval from cowardly and over-timid ecclesial leaders.

The retention and indeed extension of the service of Jimmy Lago as chancellor in the face of widespread criticism about how he mishandled the clerical abuse problem is inexplicable. A layman can only wonder what’s going on-and perhaps should not murmur disapproval. But when at the same time we get political derogation in the mask of theology, it is quite another. And quite enough. The test of whether one can reshape the world order should come at home first of all-as how one reshapes corruption, venality and perversion in the Church.

Failure of nerve sufficient to run an archdiocese is one thing. It can be said that things are slightly better-at least with more authentic theology-than occurred earlier. But when in the face of continued dereliction and evasion we have to hear advice on how the United States of America-which has been the most generous nation in the history of the world-is failing the people of the world-it’s too much.

Too much for me, anyhow.

VERY SAD: Feeling Lonely? Welcome to DePaul’s “Queer Kiss-In”; Don’t Laugh! Maybe You’ll Like it! Then You Have Something to Worry About.
http://www.tomroeser.com/blogview.asp?blogID=23091
Since nation’s biggest “Catholic” college kicked religion off its board for Dem pols and Babbitt-type businessmen, the university pursues a rudderless course.

Another column for The Wanderer, the nation’s oldest Catholic weekly newspaper.

By Thomas F. Roeser

CHICAGO-DePaul University, the nation’s largest Queer institution of higher learning (I use the word its pro-gay faculty and students prefer) decided last week that it was bored with its annual “Coming Out” party. In addition to encouraging queer students to prance around in drag-with dainty men tripping around in dresses and high heels and gruff butch women giving other dykes thwacking, seat-of-the-pants patty-whacks while ogling shy teen-aged freshmen girls-something new has been added.

It was called a “Queer Kiss-In.” Held on October 11, it was called a lip-smacking success by DePaul’s queer leaders. The Queer Kiss-In was sponsored by all of DePaul’’s queer on-campus organizations which meet and cavort with full faculty approval, in particular a group called “Spectrum” of LGBTQ’s. What are LGTQ’s?

The first day you’re enrolled at DePaul as a luckless purported seeker of Catholic truth you learn what LGBTQ stands for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, “questioning” and queer people. The group encourages straights to join; else how can a bona fide student organization grow? It wants to end “homophobia,” described as disapproval of queer practices and eradicate heterosexism (the reactionary practice of a man and a woman joining in marriage), gender-ism (the archaic belief that some workaday tasks are more adaptive to men, some to women), racism, elitism, classism, astigmatism (no: I made that up) and xenophobia. (What is xenophobia doing in there? It’s anti-Bush foreign policy).

Queer Kiss-In is another feature of a decidedly pro-homosexual orientation to DePaul which proudly calls itself the world’s largest “Catholic” university-trading on the name Catholic. But as earlier reported here, the university is run totally by the largely agnostic, even atheistic, faculty with no interference from the deferential Vincentian priest who heads the university. Or the board of directors which is composed of Babbitt-oriented business types and Democratic pols. They are interested only in whooping it up for foundation-giving and funneling state and federal subsidies into the university.

Technically, the archdiocese of Chicago could remove the designation Catholic but on such controversial matters the archdiocese treads as lightly on little cat feet as Sandburg’s fog. Catholic Citizens of Illinois has protested both to Francis Cardinal George, who has been ill, and the Vatican but has received no answer to its repeated letters. The top Vatican official in charge of preserving and nurturing Catholic education is Archbishop John Miller who makes impressive homilies about restoring Catholicity in education but hasn’t answered CCI’s letters.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz who spoke to Catholic Citizens last week urged the group to continue its protests in hopes that Roman authorities will somehow get tired of hearing from CCI and relent in the same way the judge in the gospel decided to act because an old woman was driving him nuts. When asked if he would tolerate similar goings-on in his Lincoln, Nebraska diocese, he smiled and said that he would see that the Church Militant would handle the matter. Everybody knew what he meant.

But with the Vatican bureaucracy opening his mail and deciding he is too important to bother, Archbishop Miller doesn’t feel the engendered heat from the pews. Then, too, he spends much time on world travel where he expounds on the theory of education. Some time ago he was in Omaha to visit with Catholic students at Creighton University, a Jesuit institution. In his personal prayer life, he told an assembly, his favorite prayer is the Memorare because he likes to add special intentions. It is to be hoped that at least one intention would be DePaul and another Loyola of Chicago which has named a pro-gay rights scholar who inveighs against heterosexism as head of its theology department.

On other issues in a question-and-answer session in Omaha, however, Archbishop Miller was very specific. He was asked how many bathrooms there are in the Vatican. His answer: “There are 1,473 potties.” Use of that word was comic for the university assembly. But anyone who knows the exact count on the number of toilets in the Vatican may not have enough to do and should be able to answer his mail.

The archbishop was brimming with statistics. He said his job he oversees 113,000 seminarians and 3,500 seminaries around the world. He declared he supervises 1,500 institutions “which call themselves Catholic and are recognized as such.” DePaul is one of those. He added his job is to ensure that these institutions are of “Catholic identity.” Oh, really! When asked about a bishop’s role vis-à-vis a Catholic university, Archbishop Miller said “it is the bishop’s responsibility to remain vigilant while respecting the university as an institution with its own statutes.”

Neat double-talk. But the CCI says Archbishop Miller should be vigilant enough to insist DePaul conform to its original statutes. Either that or remove the Catholic designation from the university. The only answer CCI had was vague and indirect. Cardinal George at a Legatus meeting said he talked with somebody in Rome-presumably Archbishop Miller about DePaul but got what he called “a Roman answer.” Presumably it’s easier to count the number of toilets than to flush out a straight answer there.

While Archbishop Miller remains incommunicado on the issue, militant

queers at De Paul are enthused that they have pioneered a new style of meet-and-greet using the university’s facilities which is better than hustling favors in gay bars. The Kiss-In, held on Coming Out Day was convened at the Student Center, the main student activity building for DePaul. It was billed as platonic kisses on the cheeks but two members of the group told student Nicholas Hahn III, a conservative stalwart there, that the session was “a full-blown make-out fest with lustful groping.” Fortunately this Wanderer reporter could not attend the Queer Kiss-In due to other pressing duties such as re-cataloging his record album.

However, I have seen photos of the session. They feature exchanges far different from the obligatory kiss you give Aunt Martha and Uncle Henry when they come over on Thanksgiving Day. Hahn, the 19-year-old sophomore, heads up a movement to restore authentic Catholicism to the campus. He helped found the DePaul Conservative Alliance and has gotten himself elected by the student body as a Senator with the specific designation of “Mission and Values.” Hahn is raising money for a series of lectures by authentic Catholics at the university. The money is sorely needed judging from the pictures of the Queer Kiss-In.

Hahn told The Wanderer “I’m intend to be successful in returning this school to its natural Catholic heritage. My family has gone here for several generations and to allow DePaul to go the way of all-flesh is unacceptable.” He is still trying to get a meeting on a number of issues including the Queer Kiss-In with the university president, Fr. Dennis H. Hottschneider, C. M. Ed. D. Fr. Hottschneider is very busy. Too busy to respond to a phone call from The Wanderer as well although he has a public relations staff of eight.

Also Fr. Hottschneider is very shy where it comes to the issue of faculty disapproval. Last Christmas the priest sent out a Christmas card which carried a picture of the Blessed Mother and Child. The card provoked a raging furor with the faculty which thought a nativity scene was starkly inappropriate for a president to mail out from a Catholic school. The president is carefully considering what to portray on his next Christmas card. What the controversy boils down to is this: years ago, the Vincentians handed over control of DePaul to a harshly secular board while ceding authority on policy to a largely anti-Catholic faculty. It can only be taken back with a threat to take away the designation “Catholic” from the school. Archbishop Miller can do it; Cardinal George can do it. But aside from a protest from Catholic Citizens (full disclosure: I am chairman of its board) and Nicholas Hahn III, nothing has happened. An angry contributors’ strike could prompt a protest but Catholics are too fat, dumb, happy and uneducated about the seriousness of the matter to rise up.

The secular media here, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times never covered the Queer Kiss-In-giving it a kiss-off-why? The blatantly queer nomenclature used by the militants makes it difficult. Mainstream media believe homosexuals are a persecuted minority not prancing denizens who run the zoo and cause its president to cower. Thus to present the picture of what has happened at DePaul would cause the media to be characterized as homophobic: a terrible indictment in this age of political correctness.

Also, religion editors of both newspapers-Cathleen Falsani of the Sun-Times is a joke: literally. A refugee from the `70s when college girls thought about pledging true love to a betrothed under the stars. Here’s how she began her weekly column on “religion” this week: “In honor of All Saints Day next week, I intend to hoist a couple dozen stiff drinks, start a brawl, sucker-punch a co-worker, walk around the neighborhood nude and maybe rob a bank.” Supposed to be a review of a book on saints who had earlier sinful lives. Probably all revelatory to her since she obviously hadn’t heard of Augustine. She and an anonymous religion editor of the Tribune who never writes but pulls off wire-service copy and adapts it-are themselves severely limited by liberal mal-education to understand the story. Before she wrote about getting nude, Falsini was interested in the personal religious beliefs of important Chicagoans and published the spiritual views of Cubs manager Dusty Baker, until Baker was dismissed for presiding over another losing season, resulting in his dismissal. She wouldn’t dream of copying anything substantive about religion for her column because, number one, she wouldn’t understand it. Number two, her editor, a Brit named Michael Cooke, is busily trying to turn the paper into the uptown edition of the National Enquirer.

However The DePaulia, the student newspaper at DePaul, did kiss-up the Queer Kiss-In in a front-page article recently. About 50 to 55 students participated “but unlike the adolescent game of spin-the-bottle, this circle promoted kissing between members of the same gender…The Kiss-In is a notable departure from the Coming Out Day events of the past few years that `Spectrum’ hosts in the Student Center with an informational table. The purpose of this unique approach was to raise awareness of queer relationships and tackle the issues of subtle homophobia seen on campus.” The newspaper quoted Cormac Molloy, vice president of “Spectrum as saying, “People are okay with gay people in theory but are really uncomfortable seeing two men or two women kiss.” The official school newspaper added that “Another purpose of the Kiss-In was to show people that homosexual relationships are not uncommon and to show people that they are normal.”

At this point one Robin Wolf, “Spectrum’s” president chimed in by saying, “We’re trying to challenge people’s perceptions as to what is normal.” “The more you see it the more normalized it becomes,” added Molloy. It’s a truism that social traditionalists fear and DePaul queers yearn for.

Coming Out Week is held every year at DePaul’s Congress Lounge. The newspaper reports that Coming Out “consists of music, dancing and a theatrical drag performance. This year’s theme was “Neverland” featuring a performance of Peter Pan, the child’s classic by J. M. Barrie on a mischievous little boy who refuses to grow up-which some critics say fits the queer psychosis exactly. The original Barrie story depicted an innocent little girl named Wendy who wishes to kiss Peter. This displeased DePaul queers. They re-wrote the script, transforming Wendy as a full-bloomed bisexual. The entire week’s event thrilled student Salina Estrada. She added wistfully, “It is kind of like having the prom most people didn’t get to have in high school.”

Beyond the week-long event, DePaul has been highly praised by the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual and Transgender organization as “one of the best Catholic schools for gay students,” citing its earlier reported minor in queer studies that Catholic Citizens and Nicholas Hahn object to.

The DePaulia reported that “student reactions to the Kiss-In were generally positive. However, some believe the move was inappropriate considering the Catholic position on homosexuality and the sheer visibility of people kissing while other students were around.” But let it be said that there have been no objections from the faculty-least of all from Fr. Hochschneider who is agonizing over what Christmas cards to send to the faculty now that it frowns on religious scenes. Nor has there been any objections from the Catholic archdiocese.

Nor from Archbishop Miller whose job in the Vatican it is to supervise Catholic education, since he has been traveling across the world extolling the goals of Catholic education which has necessitates his being somewhat behind in answering his mail.

In his talk recently to students at Creighton, Archbishop Miller said, “You don’t study to be an archbishop; it is done to you.”

Which lets him off the hook. He can always say he didn’t ask for the job.

FAMILY TAXPAYERS NETWORK
There she goes again - Topinka's smearing someone in her way
http://www.familytaxpayers.net/?p=art&id=983
This thing about Rich Whitney, the Green Party’s nominee for Governor being a past member of the Socialist Party hardly comes as a shock.  It’s also comes as no surprise that Judy Baar Topinka’s camp has ginned this “revelation” up in the press.  Desperate campaigns do desperate things.
Attacking people she views as potential threats to her place on the political stage is nothing new for Topinka.  Topinka has always been obsessed with wanting to be the Queen Bee.

Topinka’s dreamed of being Governor for a long time.  For years she worked to destroy real and imagined enemies in the Republican Party who might compete for attention.  Peter Fitzgerald and Jack Ryan got both barrels of Topinka’s nastiness. 

Topinka couldn’t even leave Alan Keyes alone, even though it was obvious he never had a chance against Barack Obama in 2004 and would shortly be returning back to Maryland.  And during this year’s GOP Primary, she called all of her opponents “morons” – except for her helper Spoiler Bill Brady of course.

While Republicans are usually on the receiving end of Topinka’s mean-spirited attacks, every four years she typically has one Democrat to go after.  This year of course it’s Rod Blagojevich in her sights, and no loose cannon attack from Topinka is complete without her promising to “take him out.”

This year there’s also an extra obstacle in her way in the form of the Green Party’s Rich Whitney.  It’s far from clear whether Whitney’s taking more votes from Topinka or from Blagojevich – or if these are voters who would just otherwise ignore the race or stay home.

But one thing is clear.  Topinka is desperate. 

The latest Chicago Tribune/WGN-9 poll has her losing miserably and she’s having a tough time convincing enough voters that she’s up to the job of being Governor.  Most people have seen enough and have made up their minds.  No poll for many months has her getting over 40%.  Some have her getting less than 30%.

But an arrogant Topinka looks at Whitney’s significant support, and her sense of entitlement is offended.  In Topinka’s mind, Whitney’s voters belong to her.  For days now she and her stooges have been going out and lecturing Whitney voters about not “wasting” their votes.  Finally on Sunday, Topinka’s camp gets a media outlet to bite on this “former socialist” angle.

Also on Sunday, Andy McKenna, Jr., who is rumored to be the Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, made an appearance at a press conference to talk about Whitney’s socialist past.  While he was at it, we would have loved to have heard McKenna talk about his own conservative Republican past. 

When McKenna was trying to become a U.S. Senator, he told Republican Primary voters that he was a conservative.  Of course that was before he spent millions for a distant forth place finish in 2004 (talk about “wasted” votes).  After that embarrassing rejection by the Republican base, the self-described conservative got behind the pro-gay, pro-abortion, pro-gambling, pro-pay-to-play Topinka for Governor. 

Under McKenna, the State Party organization also abandoned the base and refused to help on the Protect Marriage referendum project this year – and then allowed his staff to lie about the motive for the betrayal.

At his press conference “outing” Whitney, McKenna preached about how voters need to know everything about a candidate before they vote.  If that’s the case, we wonder then if McKenna will be sharing the disturbing facts contained in Topinka’s divorce file – especially since McKenna was another of Topinka’s crew that was so obsessed with the contents of Jack Ryan’s.

This desperate gamble to discredit Whitney seems to be backfiring.  Topinka’s about the last person that most people want a lecture from.  Also, nothing is a bigger waste than a vote for the self-obsessed candidate who helped undermine Senator Peter Fitzgerald. 

A vote for the candidate who helped get rid of a fine Senator in retaliation for his courage in bringing aggressive, outside prosecutors to Illinois, is not only a waste – it’s a disgrace.  A vote for Topinka is a vote for saying George Ryan should have beaten the rap.

Topinka should just give it a rest.  First of all, Topinka is easily more of a leftist than Whitney ever could have been.  Topinka’s shills used to point to her support of the Second Amendment as the reason conservatives should hold their nose and give her their vote. 

But Topinka recently pledged that she would veto any legislation legalizing concealed carry.  That means Whitney is hands-down the most pro-gun candidate on the ballot.

And does Topinka really want to talk about who is more extreme?  Don’t forget, it was Topinka who recently shrieked this (Howard Dean style) at an event in Champaign:

“I’m the sword of justice and I’m going to cut him [Blagojevich] to pieces.  We will take him out with my little rolling pin known as the assault weapon.  I will prove to him, indeed, it is an assault weapon.”

There’s never been a more extreme candidate for Governor than Topinka – or a more embarrassing one.

Who don’t know very much about Mr. Whitney.  We really haven’t followed his campaign very closely.  But we do know one thing - Topinka and her nastiness don’t belong in the Republican Party.

ROSKAM CAMPAIGN

The Final Push!!! - Information on how to help elect Roskam

www.roskamforcongress.com

In two days the 6th District will be voting for its next United States Congressman.  This has been an exciting campaign and I have been overwhelmed by your support, thoughts and prayers. 

The campaign, although coming to an end, is far from over.  As we head into the last hours, I need your help more than ever.  Tammy Duckworth and I are in a dead heat.  This is one of the closest races in the nation.  We have an opportunity to make the 6th District a key player in holding on to the Republican Majority in the House.  The nation will be intently watching to see who prevails. 

While I am very hopeful that we will achieve victory on November 7th, the fight is not over yet.  The close poll numbers demonstrate that this election can only be won by motivating our supporters and by getting them out to vote.

Even though we are holding our own against Tammy Duckworth, she remains a formidable opponent and we cannot afford to rest now.  In fact, now more than ever we all need to work harder to win this campaign.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

The only way we can win on November 7th is with your help!  I need you to reach out to other voters in the district by volunteering.  Offering your time to precinct walk or to make calls at our established phone banks will make the difference between winning and losing. 

Reaching out to other voters, getting them out on Election Day and calling them to ask for their vote will widen the gap between Tammy and me.  The more calls we make and the more people we talk to the larger those poll numbers become in our favor.  Please call the office to volunteer at (630) 221-0006.  See below for volunteering times and locations.

VOTE!!  VOTE!!  VOTE!!
Please remember to vote for me on November 7th.  Also, tell all your friends and family to get out and vote. 

PRECINCT WALKS
Monday and Tuesday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Illinois Victory Center
2260 Hicks Rd., Rolling Meadows
Hanover Township Republican HQ
116 Bartlett Ave., Bartlett
DuPage County Republican HQ
224 S. Washington St., Wheaton
Bloomingdale Township Republican HQ
162-B Lake Street, Bloomingdale
York Township
105 South York Street, Elmhurst
(Basement of the 5/3 Bank)

PHONE BANKS
Monday and Tuesday
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
DuPage Co. Republican HQ
224 South Washington, Wheaton
Bloomingdale Twp. Republican HQ
162-B Lake Street, Bloomingdale
(In the Spring Brook Shopping Center)
York Township
105 South York Street, Elmhurst
(Basement of the 5/3 Bank)
Illinois Victory Center
Rolling Meadows
2260 Hicks Road
Hanover Township Republican Headquarters
116 Bartlett Avenue, Bartlett
(Across from the train station)

NAPERVILLE SUN
DuPage a poll model for Russians - Kathy Cichon
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/125388,6_1_NA06_RUSSIANS_S1.article

WHEATON - Voters here might enjoy the ease of electronic balloting during elections, but half a world away 99 percent of Russian ballots are cast on paper.
While America's move to electronic balloting was prompted by law, the obvious side benefit to voters is a convenience that entices Russian officials who are looking to shed the cumbersome paper tally they use.

On Saturday, DuPage Election Commission's Wheaton office hosted a delegation from the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, including its chairman, Alexander A. Veshnyakov, who is third in line for the Russian presidency.

"We would like to see the work and the preparation for elections in Illinois state," Veshnyakov explained through an interpreter.

The group's purpose was to learn about American elections - how they are conducted and the voting methods available to voters. Veshnyakov was in Los Angeles during the last presidential election, and in Florida four years ago. The 2000 election marked his first trip to Illinois, "but you didn't have such modern (voting) equipment as you do now," he said.

During its trip to the States, the group also visited Cook County and Chicago election offices, said Paul DeGregorio, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

"It will be good for them to see the different types of equipment," DeGregorio said.

He said the Russians chose to visit DuPage because it does "a good job" of managing elections, has a close Congressional race at hand, expects high voter turnout, and continues to transition to new equipment. It is "very prestigious for them to be visiting" DuPage, he said.

"DuPage is large - it's a very complex county," DeGregorio said. "DuPage County has been known for trying some new innovations in serving the voters and serving the county ... It's a good county to visit."

Wheaton Mayor James Carr and DuPage Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom, R-Naperville, said it was an honor for the delegation to visit the city and the county.

"It says a lot about how our system is viewed," Schillerstrom said. "It gives us an opportunity to show off to the world what we do and have done."

Last week DeGregorio was in Wheaton with election authorities from France and Ukraine, who also were in DuPage to study the process, he said. After Tuesday's election, the Russians will travel to Washington, D.C., where they will be debriefed by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, DeGregorio said. They will be joined by election leaders from other countries that are currently visiting states where close races are anticipated.

After a welcome by DuPage officials, the delegation was given a tour of the election commission's facilities by its executive director, Robert Saar. He explained pre-election processes, including voter registration and the training of poll workers, and demonstrated the county's optical-scan and electronic touch-screen voting methods. The delegates asked pointed questions about the equipment, as they hope to expand the use of it in their country.

Unlike the Help America Vote Act, which mandated that all U.S. polling places be accessible for voters with disabilities and prompted election officials to purchase adaptive, touch-screen electronic voting equipment, it was convenience that prompted Russian officials to explore new voting technologies.

"We just see that it's progress and it's more comfortable," Veshnyakov said. "That's why it was decided to use such equipment."

While Russia uses some touch-screen terminals - as well as some of the optical scan ballots - 99 percent of Russian voters use paper ballots, Veshnyakov said.

 

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September 29, 2006 News Clips 29-Sep-2006
September 28, 2006 News Clips - Text 28-Sep-2006
September 28, 2006 News Clips 28-Sep-2006
September 27, 2006 News Clips 27-Sep-2006
September 26, 2006 News Clips - Text 26-Sep-2006
September 26, 2006 News Clips 26-Sep-2006
September 25, 2006 News Clips 25-Sep-2006
September 24, 2006 News Clips 24-Sep-2006
September 23, 2006 News Clips 23-Sep-2006
September 22, 2006 News Clips - Text 22-Sep-2006
September 22, 2006 News Clips 22-Sep-2006
September 21, 2006 News Clips 21-Sep-2006
September 20, 2006 News Clips 20-Sep-2006
September 19, 2006 News Clips - Text 19-Sep-2006
September 19, 2006 News Clips 19-Sep-2006
September 18, 2006 News Clips 18-Sep-2006
September 17, 2006 News Clips 17-Sep-2006
September 16, 2006 News Clips 16-Sep-2006
September 15, 2006 News Clips - Text 15-Sep-2006
September 15, 2006 News Clips 15-Sep-2006
September 14, 2006 News Clips 14-Sep-2006
September 13, 2006 News Clips - text 13-Sep-2006
September 13, 2006 News Clips 13-Sep-2006
September 12, 2006 News Clips 12-Sep-2006
September 11, 2006 News Clips 11-Sep-2006
September 10, 2006 News Clips 10-Sep-2006
September 9, 2006 News Clips 9-Sep-2006
September 8, 2006 News Clips - Text 8-Sep-2006
September 8, 2006 News Clips 8-Sep-2006
September 7, 2006 News Clips 7-Sep-2006
September 6, 2006 News Clips 6-Sep-2006
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August 27, 2006 News Clips 27-Aug-2006
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August 25, 2006 News Clips 25-Aug-2006
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July 25, 2006 News Clips 25-July-2006
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July 18, 2006 News Clips 18-July-2006
July 17, 2006 News Clips 17-July-2006
July 16, 2006 News Clips 16-July-2006
July 15, 2006 News Clips 15-July-2006
July 14, 2006 News Clip - Text 14-July-2006
July 14, 2006 News Clips 14-July-2006
July 13, 2006 News Clips 13-July-2006
July 12, 2006 News Clips 12-July-2006
July 11, 2006 News Clips 11-July-2006
July 10, 2006 News Clips 10-July-2006
July 9, 2006 News Clips 9-July-2006
July 8, 2006 News Clips - Text 8-July-2006
July 8, 2006 News Clips 8-July-2006
July 7, 2006 News Clips 7-July-2006
July 6, 2006 News Clips 6-July-2006
July 5, 2006 News Clips 5-July-2006
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June 30, 2006 News Clips 30-June-2006
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June 28, 2006 News Clips 28-June-2006
June 27, 2006 News Clips 27-June-2006
June 26, 2006 News Clips 26-June-2006
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May 12, 2006 News Clips Text 1 12-May-2006
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May 11, 2006 News Clips 1 11-May-2006
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May 10, 2006 News Clips 1 10-May-2006
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May 9, 2006 News Clips -Text 1 9-May-2006
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May 8, 2006 News Clips - Text 8-May-2006
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April 30, 2006 News Clips 30-Apr-2006
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April 28, 2006 News Clips 28-Apr-2006
April 27, 2006 News Clips 27-Apr-2006
April 26, 2006 News Clips 26-Apr-2006
April 25, 2006 News Clips Text 1 25-Apr-2006
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April 15, 2006 News Clips 15-Apr-2006
April 14, 2006 News Clips 14-Apr-2006
April 13, 2006 News Clips 13-Apr-2006
April 12, 2006 News Clips - Text 12-Apr-2006
April 12, 2006 News Clips 12-Apr-2006
April 11, 2006 News Clips 11-Apr-2006
April 10, 2006 News Clips 10-Apr-2006
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April 8, 2006 News Clips 8-Apr-2006
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March 31, 2006 News Clips 31-Mar-2006
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March 29, 2006 News Clips 29-Mar-2006
March 28, 2006 News Clips 28-Mar-2006
March 27, 2006 News Clips 27-Mar-2006
March 26, 2006 News Clips 26-Mar-2006
March 25, 2006 News Clips 25-Mar-2006
March 24, 2006 News Clips 24-Mar-2006
March 23, 2006 News Clips - Text 2 23-Mar-2006
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March 23, 2006 News Clips 23-Mar-2006
March 22, 2006 News Clips 22-Mar-2006
March 21, 2006 News Clips 21-Mar-2006
March 20, 2006 News Clips 20-Mar-2006
March 19, 2006 News Clips 19-Mar-2006
March 18, 2006 News Clips 18-Mar-2006
March 17, 2006 News Clips 17-Mar-2006
March 16, 2006 News Clips 16-Mar-2006
March 15, 2006 news Clips 15-Mar-2006
March 14, 2006 News Clips 14-Mar-2006
March 13, 2006 News Clips 13-Mar-2006
March 12, 2006 News Clips - 2 12-Mar-2006
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March 12, 2006 News Clips 12-Mar-2006
March 11, 2006 News Clips 11-Mar-2006
March 10, 2006 News Clips 10-Mar-2006
March 9, 2006 News Clips 9-Mar-2006
March 8, 2006 News Clips 8-Mar-2006
March 7, 2006 News Clips 7-Mar-2006
March 6, 2006 News Clips - Text 2 6-Mar-2006
March 6, 2006 News Clips - Text 1 6-Mar-2006
March 6, 2006 News Clips 6-Mar-2006
March 5, 2006 News Clips 5-Mar-2006
March 4, 2006 News Clips 4-Mar-2006
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February 28, 2006 News Clips 28-Feb-2006
February 27, 2006 News Clips 27-Feb-2006
February 26, 2006 News Clips 26-Feb-2006
February 25, 2006 News Clips 25-Feb-2006
February 24, 2006 News Clips 24-Feb-2006
February 23, 2006 News Clips 23-Feb-2006
February 22, 2006 News Clips 22-Feb-2006
February 21, 2006 News Clips 21-Feb-2006
February 20, 2006 News Clips 20-Feb-2006
February 19, 2006 News Clips 19-Feb-2006
February 18, 2006 News Clips 18-Feb-2006
February 17, 2006 News Clips 17-Feb-2006
February 16, 2006 News clips 16-Feb-2006
February 15, 2006 News Clips 15-Feb-2006
February 14, 2006 News Clips (TEXT) 14-Feb-2006
February 14, 2006 News Clips 14-Feb-2006
February 13, 2006 News Clips 13-Feb-2006
February 12, 2006 News Clips 12-Feb-2006
February 11, 2006 News Clips 11-Feb-2006
February 10, 2006 News Clips 10-Feb-2006
February 9, 2006 News Clips 9-Feb-2006
February 8, 2006 News Clips 8-Feb-2006
February 7, 2006 News Clips 7-Feb-2006
February 6, 2006 News Clips 6-Feb-2006
February 5, 2006 News Clips 5-Feb-2006
February 4, 2006 News Clips 4-Feb-2006
February 3, 2006 News Clips 3-Feb-2006
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February 1, 2006 News Clips 1-Feb-2006
January 31, 2006 News Clips 31-Jan-2006
January 30, 2006 News Clips 30-Jan-2006
January 29, 2006 News Clips 29-Jan-2006
January 28, 2006 News Clips 28-Jan-2006
January 27, 2006 News Clips 27-Jan-2006
January 26, 2006 News Clips 26-Jan-2006
January 25, 2006 News Clips 25-Jan-2006
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January 22, 2006 news Clips 22-Jan-2006
January 21, 2006 News Clips 21-Jan-2006
January 20, 2006 News Clips 20-Jan-2006
January 19, 2006 News Clips 19-Jan-2006
January 18, 2006 News Clips 18-Jan-2006
January 17, 2006 News Clips 17-Jan-2006
January 16, 2006 News Clips 16-Jan-2006
January 15, 2006 News Clips 15-Jan-2006
January 14, 2006 News Clips 14-Jan-2006
January 13, 2006 News Clips 13-Jan-2006
January 12, 2006 News clips 12-Jan-2006
January 11, 2006 News Clips 11-Jan-2006
January 10, 2006 News Clips 10-Jan-2006
January 9, 2006 News Clips 9-Jan-2006
January 8, 2006 News Chips 8-Jan-2006
January 7, 2006 News Clips 7-Jan-2006
January 6, 2006 News Clips 6-Jan-2006
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January 2, 2006 News Clips 2-Jan-2006
January 1, 2006 News Clips 1-Jan-2006
December 31, 2005 News Clips 31-Dec-2005
December 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Dec-2005
December 29, 2005 News Clips 29-Dec-2005
December 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Dec-2005
December 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Dec-2005
December 26, 2005 News Clips (Text) 26-Dec-2005
December 26, 2005 News Clips 26-Dec-2005
December 25, 2005 News Clips 25-Dec-2005
December 24, 2005 News Clips 24-Dec-2005
December 23, 2005 News Clips 23-Dec-2005
December 22, 2005 News Clips 22-Dec-2005
December 21, 2005 News Clips 21-Dec-2005
December 20, 2005 News Clips 20-Dec-2005
December 19, 2005 News Clips 19-Dec-2005
December 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Dec-2005
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December 16, 2005 News Clips 16-Dec-2005
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November 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Nov-2005
November 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Nov-2005
November 26, 2005 News Clips 26-Nov-2005
November 25, 2005 News Clips 25-Nov-2005
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November 20, 2005 News Clips 20-Nov-2005
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November 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Nov-2005
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November 16, 2005 News Clips 16-Nov-2005
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October 31, 2005 News Clips 31-Oct-2005
October 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Oct-2005
October 29, 2005 News Clips 29-Oct-2005
October 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Oct-2005
October 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Oct-2005
October 26, 2005 News Clips 26-Oct-2005
October 25, 2005 News Clips 25-Oct-2005
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October 22, 2005 News Clips 22-Oct-2005
October 21, 2005 News Clips 21-Oct-2005
October 20, 2005 News Clips 20-Oct-2005
October 19, 2005 News Clips 19-Oct-2005
October 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Oct-2005
October 17, 2005 News Clips 17-Oct-2005
October 16, 2005 News Clips 16-Oct-2005
October 15, 2005 News Clips 15-Oct-2005
October 14, 2005 News Clips 14-Oct-2005
October 13, 2005 News Clips 13-Oct-2005
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October 11, 2005 News Clips 11-Oct-2005
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October 1, 2005 News Clips 1-Oct-2005
September 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Sep-2005
September 29, 2005 News Clips 29-Sep-2005
September 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Sep-2005
September 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Sep-2005
September 26, 2005 News Clips 26-Sep-2005
September 25, 2005 News Clips 25-Sep-2005
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September 23, 2005 News Clips 23-Sep-2005
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September 20, 2005 News Clips 20-Sep-2005
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September 1, 2005 News Clips 1-Sep-2005
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August 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Aug-2005
August 29, 2005 News Clips 29-Aug-2005
August 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Aug-2005
August 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Aug-2005
August 26, 2005 News Clips 26-Aug-2005
August 25, 2005 News Clips 25-Aug-2005
August 24, 2005 News Clips 24-Aug-2005
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August 22, 2005 News Clips 22-Aug-2005
August 21, 2005 News Clips - Part 1 21-Aug-2005
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August 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Aug-2005
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August 1, 2005 News Clips 1-Aug-2005
July 31, 2005 News Clips 31-July-2005
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July 29, 2005 News Clips 29-July-2005
July 28, 2005 News Clips 28-July-2005
July 27, 2005 News Clips 27-July-2005
July 26, 2005 News Clips 26-July-2005
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July 19, 2005 News Clips 19-July-2005
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