Sunday, November 06, 2005

Whitley a Lt. Gubernatorial Candidate?

As a guest on Tom Roeser's "Political Shoot-Out" respected Northshore journalist Jeff Berkowitz revealed that "reliable sources" of his had indicated that treasurer Judy Baar Topinka will seek the governor's mansion-with Doug Whitley as her running mate. Whitley presently serves as statewide chairman of the politically active Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber bankrolled numerous successful GOP campaigns last fall, including Judge Lloyd Karmeier's Supreme Court bid and Gary Dahl's defeat of then sen. Pat Welch. Whitley, a nominal Democrat, had previously been rumored as a potential Blago opponent in the 2006 primary.

Whitley would be a vast departure from the hackneyed image of affluent candidates from the business world. Jack Ryan, Jim Oberweis, and Ron Gidwitz were political neophytes and virtual unknowns(Obie has become a household name, but he wasn't prior to his first run). Whitley runs the Chamber with panache and tactility, navigating the choppy waters of politics on both sides of the aisle. Unlike those three, he also lacks a potentially damaging personal history. (Gidwitz had his service on the ISBE on G-Ry, Jack Ryan's is very well known, and of Obie didn't have one before he ran, he certainly does now). The Chamber's chairman would bring energy to the ticket. He would have the advantages of a businessperson and non-incumbent in decrying the governor's economic policies, and can boast a resume that is from outside the public sector. Whitley has, in all liklihood, amassed something of a personal fortune from his corporate days and also has ample connections in the business world. And, let's not forget, a powerful PAC at his disposal.

UPDATE: Mr. Cal Skinner shares some of his thoughts and insight on the subject:

Doug started out as a pretty liberal Democrat, if my memory of what he said of his Baltimore days are accurate. That conversation was when he was exec of the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois. His work crafting the tax cap under Governor Edgar certainly burnished his taxpayer credentials, however. I guess if Rod Blagojevich can come from a Goldwater-supporting mother, Doug can end up a Republican. At least he is going in the right direction, while Rod isn't.

Very well stated, sir.

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