Thursday, February 04, 2010

Republican primary in retrospect

By Rachel Wells

In the Republican gubernatorial primary, the lone downstate candidate, Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, reaped the benefits of Chicago-land vote-splitting, former Gov. Jim Edgar said Thursday at a post-primary election analysis during a Thursday luncheon event in Springfield.

Starting with Jim Ryan’s decision to enter the race, Edgar addresses the Republican primary in the video below:

Throughout the primary campaign, Edgar said, Brady stood out as the only downstate Republican candidate against Adam Andrzejewski and Sen. Kirk Dillard, both of Hinsdale; Andy McKenna, Dan Proft and Jim Ryan, all of Chicago; and DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, who dropped out of the race but remained on the ballot.

He compared the situation to 1991, when Carol Mosely Braun took the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination after a three-way battle between Braun, incumbent Alan Dixon and political unknown Al Hofeld. The campaign scene turned negative between Dixon and Hofeld, with Braun relying on a chaotic but positive campaign. Braun took the majority of Chicago and pluralities in suburban Cook County and the collar counties. While Dixon was a downstater, Hofeld’s attacks and a general anti-incumbent mood left the two-term senator with only 49 percent of the downstate vote. Braun took 20 percent and Hofeld took 31 percent.

In Edgar’s opinion, negative campaigning played a role in McKenna’s defeat, too.

As of Thursday afternoon, Dillard was only a few hundred votes behind Brady and had not conceded. McKenna conceded Thursday afternoon. Edgar endorsed Dillard for the nomination last fall.

Edgar and David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, spoke Thursday on a number of election-related topics including: Republicans and the Hispanic vote, polling, voter turn-out, the U.S. Senate race and party unity. Check back over the next several days for more post-primary coverage and commentary from Edgar and Yepsen.

Thursday's event was sponsored by the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois and the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield.

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