Saturday, October 15, 2005

Berns May Reprise Political Career

Tom Berns, who served on term in the Illinois House after being appointed to Tim Johnson's seat, has not ruled out a run for the 52nd state senate seat to be vacated in 2006 by retiring incumbent Rick Winkel. Berns was defeated by Naomi Jakobsson in what was the most expensive Illinois House race of the cycle.(Jakobsson had run for the House once previously, losing to Winkel in 1996.) After his first election, Berns had drawn ire from Democrats by refusing to resign the chairmanship of the eponymous powerbroker engineering firm, Berns Clancy and Associates, though he recused himself from certain votes.

Berns's political future depends largely on his ability to acquire the backing of the Senate R's and to convince them that his would be a Tier 1 race-and to secure the accompanying financial backing.(He does have not inconsiderable personal assets from his engineering firm.) Judith Myers, after all, once served among their ranks, and Senate leadership may be hesitant to commit to Berns unless she abjures. Regardless of the candidate's identity, both the primary and the general are likely to be uncertain for him or her. Other elected officials are likely to function as kingmakers. Would Winkel be willing to endorse Myers, his former foe? It is crucial that both local and statewide R's seize this opprotunity to move one seat closer to taking back the senate.


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