Denting Dems' Cook County edge crucial to Topinka's hopes
One: Given the real possibility of a larger-than-usual Cook County vote (due to the County Board president race), Topinka must find a way to cut the governor's winning percentage in this Democratic stronghold. In 2002 Blagojevich garnered 67 percent of the Cook County vote -- a similar performance by him in 2006 could by itself doom Topinka's statewide hopes.
Two: The five collars must go overwhelmingly for Topinka and up Jim Ryan's 2002 winning percentage (58 percent) by at least 5 percentage points. Key here is whether "social conservative" Republicans will support their party's nominee or reject her because of her moderate views on abortion and gay rights.
Three: Traditional GOP north and north-central Downstate counties must have big turnouts and a huge Topinka vote. The recent Downstate bus caravan was perhaps Topinka's shrewdest political move so far in the campaign.
Judy Baar Topinka still faces an up hill fight in a blue state. 2006 is shaping up to be a big Democratic year. Democrat Gov. Rod Blagojevich has a huge war chest and has been hitting Republican Judy Baar Topinka hard with television ads since the primary. Recent polls have Blagojevich wit the lead. Barring any October surprises Blagojevich will defeat Topinka, only the margin of the victory is in dispute. It is going to be close.
Cross-Post at my blog: A Liberal Stance on Politics