Friday, August 14, 2009

Dodge may face challengers in Comptroller's race

Jim Dodge of Orland Park became the lead candidate in the Republican Party to announce for Illinois Comptroller, the seat that will be vacated by incumbent Dan Hynes who announced he is running for Governor against the beleaguered Pat Quinn.

Capitol Fax Blog notes that two other "possible" contenders being pushed in to the race include former Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and Dennis Cook, a Republican activist. But Topinka told me recently that she had "no plans" to run for office.

Insiders speculate that if Topinka enters the race, it may cause some curious concerns. Topinka would make a great candidate for governor and even for a return election to the treasurer's office. But moving to Comptroller might look like an move of opportunity. She's a much more potent candidate for governor on the Republican Side and a shoe-in for treasurer where her past experience almost guarantees her win. And, Topinka could point to her last campaign when she lost to banker and pro-Credit card company Alexi Giannoulias who announced he will run against Mark Kirk for the U.S. Senate seat.

It will be interesting to see what happens. Dodge is the inside favorite for comptroller. Imagine if Topinka joined the ticket for Treasurer. It could be a powerful return for the beleaguered Illinois GOP.

Cook, also from Orland Park, announced weeks ago he was considering running for Lieutenant governor and maybe Comptroller but made no formal announcement. A Topinka-Cook team for Governor. Could be potent, although out stomping and doing extensive interviews is Dan Proft whose candidacy touches the issues of more concern to the conservative branch of the GOP.

-- Ray Hanania