Illinois Republican leaders who attended a recent Will County retreat with Karl Rove were a little taken aback when the White House political guru talked excitedly about bringing Vice President Dick Cheney into Illinois to campaign on behalf of the Republican candidate for Illinois attorney general. The race just hasn't registered on anyone's political radar to date, so it was a surprise to many that he even knew the office existed. . .
Incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan is no mope. It's no accident that not a single Republican challenger has yet to emerge to challenge the one-term incumbent.
Even some current statewide GOP candidates are hoping she draws an underfunded nobody. A strong opponent, whoever that might be, would only force her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, to do everything he could to gin up Democratic turnout throughout the state. The Republicans would prefer a depressed Democratic electorate next year, which would give them a much better chance of defeating Gov. Rod Blagojevich. . .
(The U.S. Chamber and other national business groups)see Lisa Madigan as the next Eliot Spitzer, New York's fiery and highly successful attorney general who is the odds-on favorite to become that state's next governor. The business types don't want Attorney General Madigan stepping into Spitzer's national leadership role, so they've committed to spend millions to defeat her.
Bigtime money attracts bigtime attention. Cue Karl Rove.
Word from on high is that Rove is working on a strategy for the Illinois attorney general's race that would theoretically benefit all the state's Republican candidates. Some gubernatorial candidates have been asked to go on the attack against Madigan, but there haven't been any eager takers to date.
Rove's ideas may sound counterintuitive, but that's just the sort of campaigns he runs. Not many predicted, for instance, that Rove would be able to turn John Kerry's war hero status into a liability.
All they need now is a decent candidate. Good luck with that.
Looks like it's time to fish out my voter registration materials and begin working diligently on behalf of blue again. 2006 is around the corner and I'll be damned if they come to do to my state what they're doing to the rest of the world.