Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Vallas will stay in Philly, says the Speaker

I heard that Paul Vallas told Speaker Madigan that he won't be running for governor in 2006 because (a) he's got a sweet contract with the Philadelphia School making some bank (b) he's got three or four kids to put through college and (c) there's no salary as a gubernatorial candidate, much less a losing gubernatorial candidate.

So wealth wins again. That's somehow really depressing -- that if he was rich, then he'd be in a position to run.

And no, Madigan didn't tell me. I don't get to speak with the Speaker.

So who does that leave? The top tier candidates in terms of beating Blagojevich would be Jesse White and Lisa Madigan. Maybe Dick Durbin. None of them have any inclination to run.

Then we're down to second tier candidates. They would need 8 to 10 million to be competitive. They'd need the triple endorsement of Mayor Daley, Speaker Madigan and President Jones. Maybe two of the three would be enough. That's a tall order.

And though I've maintained the Judy Baar Topinka could beat Rod in '06, I forgot the fatal flaw in the argument: the conservatives would sit out her November election. I think she could win a primary, especially if Syverson, Rauschenburger, Watson and most of the other conservatives were somehow OK with her running for governor. And I can imagine that happening. She'd appeal to independents more than Rod, and could cut into progressive voters as well, especially if she can suggest that it's about 10 years late for a 4% income tax rate. But, I forgot that the pro-life, pro-gun and anti-tax crowd would not work so hard for her in November. And that's a killer.

Maybe we're stuck with Governor Blagojevich for a long time. Unless Kerry wins and appoints Blagojevich to the Cabinet. Now *there's* an idea. . . .

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