Hope for Illinois GOP

Illinois is one of the bluest states in the country, but disgust with the mismanagement and corrupt leadership by Democrats, who have complete control of the legislature, and Governor’s mansion, has opened the door to a GOP victory over sitting Governor Pat Quinn, who barely survived in 2010. All 4 major GOP contenders for the Governors nomination currently lead Quinn by solid margins in head to head contests.  

The bigger surprise is that incumbent Senator Dick Durbin is not a shoo-in for re-election, as he has been in prior races. There is also disgust with Washington politicians in Illinois, and despite some lingering home state affection for President Obama, Durbin is the kind of career politician who is increasingly out of favor.  It would be hard to identify any policy position Durbin has taken that was not first cleared with President Obama. He is Harry Reid's second-in-command, and behaves like Reid, as a loyal toady for the President.  

Two candidates are competing for the GOP nomination to run against Durbin. Jim Oberweis, who has run and lost in statewide races for many years, is trying once more to use his money and name identification to secure the nomination and then face near certain general election defeat. His primary opponent is Doug Truax, a West Point graduate, Army captain, and small business owner, who would offer a great contrast to Durbin.

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune gave an enthusiastic endorsement to Truax, as have many local GOP organizations and other newspapers. Here is part of the Tribune's endorsement of Truax:

"If the Republican Party is to outgrow its loss of stature in Illinois, it needs to recruit and promote candidates who are more like Truax. At 43 he's a West Point graduate, a former Army Ranger and captain, and majority owner of a small Oak Brook firm that helps employers address the costs of their health care, retirement and other benefits programs.

"Truax projects confidence in what a growth-oriented federal agenda could accomplish: He stresses that without more vibrant economic activity, America won't solve chronic joblessness. He impresses us with smart ideas for rescuing entitlement programs, curbing federal tax loopholes, and empowering states to expand school choice: "I favor charter schools and maximum flexibility for parents and students to escape bad schools and a cycle of poverty." And as a health insurance consultant, Truax offers fresh and detailed proposals for accomplishing what Obamacare cannot: affordably providing good coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.

"Oberweis has more name recognition and money than does Truax. If Republicans don't look deeper, those variables could determine this race. But with one eye on the issues that confront voters and another on Illinois' imperiled future, the Tribune  today endorses Doug Truax."

If there were ever an easy choice for Republicans in a primary fight, this is it. Truax has the potential to deliver another Senate seat to the GOP, particularly if a wave election happens, as now seems quite possible.