17 March 2004

Illinois democrats get it right

At this late hour, I am happy to see that Barack Obama has won the democratic nomination for US Senate in Illinois.  It looks like he will end up with 50% of the vote, about 20 points higher than most polls predicted.  He benefitted greatly from the implosion of Blair Hull's campaign, obviously, and as ugly as some of the media was to Hull, the story behind his actions during his divorce needed to be made public.  He was not qualified to be a Senator.  The voters of this state got it right.

I am looking at a graphic of how the counties of Illinois voted, and I struck by the fact that it looks like no more than ten total counties gave Obama the majority of their votes.  Dan Hynes looks to get the most votes in about 3/4 of the counties (of which there are a total of 99).  However, Obama has the six counties in metropolitan Chicago, which includes half the population of the state. 

What I like about Obama compared to the other candidates in this race was that he remained positive at all times and did not stoop to attacking his opponents.  He ran on his record.  I am confident that he will do the same for the general election in November.  I admit that I have paid little attention to the Republican side of this race, but now that Jack Ryan has become the GOP nominee, I will pay close attention to both sides of this race.

And I have to ask, when is the Illinois GOP going to ask its candidates named Ryan to consider a name change?  It's incredibly ironic that in the last two major elections in this state (2002 gubernatorial and this 2004 Senate race) the GOP candidate has the same last name as the man who as governor succeeded in securing the largest backlash against the Republicans in state history.  I don't expect the voters of this state to vote on a name (and if they did, do you think someone might point out the proximity of "Obama" to "Osama"?) but every spin doctor in the state has to see the potential for mistaken identity.

For what it's worth, I would have had an extremely difficult time deciding between Barack Obama and Peter Fitzgerald, if he were running for reelection.

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