And We're ... Not Off to the Races

Madigan, White may run unopposed

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Is it still a vote when there's only one choice?

    The upcoming campaigns for Illinois Governor and U.S. Senator promise to be barn-burners, but we may not even get campaigns for the next two most powerful posts.

    Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White are currently unopposed - and may stay that way, the Southern reports.

    "It has become clear to my advisors and me that it will be virtually impossible to compete financially with Lisa Madigan," DuPage County  State's Attorney Joe Birkett said in a statement last week as he bowed out of the attorney general's race. "It would be wrong for me to run and to ask people to contribute to a race that that is virtually unwinnable under the circumstances."

    Birkett, who first bowed out of the governor's race, appeared set to run for attorney general when it looked like Madigan would jump into either the governor's race or the senate race. When Madigan decided to stay put, Birkett decided to stand pat.

    Madigan's first race for attorney general was against Birkett, and it was a close one, but since then her star has eclipsed his many times over.

    Whomever tries to challenge White could face the same realization as Birkett. The current Secretary of State won almost twice as many votes as opponent Dan Rutherford in 2006, the Southern notes. "And in 2002, White won every county in Illinois," the paper says.

    White will be running for his fourth - and possibly final - term, and his refusal to certify Roland Burris's appointment to the U.S. Senate endeared him to reformers who otherwise largely view him as a polite hack.

    "(Republicans have) got some problems, it seems to me, with recruiting against those two," John Jackson, a political scientist with Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, told the Southern

    As far as political theater goes, the Illinois show starts and ends with Pat Quinn vs. Dan Hynes and Alexi Giannoulias vs. Mark Kirk.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.