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The GOP Numbers Game

   All you need is 200-250,000 votes for a chance to win the highest office in the nation's fifth largest state!

   That's the conventional wisdom shared by most of the strategists in the seven-candidate primary for the republican nomination for governor of Illinois.  Barring any dramatic changes in the political climate, the February 2, 2010 republican vote is projected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 800-850,000.  That's about 10-15% more than the 735,810 who cast ballots in the party's 2006 primary.  (944,379 voted in the 2006 Illinois democratic primary)

   Four of the seven candidates have run statewide before, have at least some name recognition and will certainly carve for themselves at least a piece of the republican pie.  No one I've talked to believes anyone will get a majority.   And the winning plurality, if all seven remain until the vote, could be as low as twenty per cent.

   That's part of the reason so many candidates believe they have a legitimate chance to win.  Former Attorney General Jim Ryan jumped into the race on the final day to file.   The 63 year old cancer survivor remembers the 1.5 million votes he tallied in his losing 2002 effort to Rod Blagojevich.   Ryan and his strategists realize that if just one of every six people who voted for Ryan then vote for him in the upcoming primary he'll be nominated. 

   Then there's DuPage County Board President Bob Schillerstrom.  In his 2006 race in the state's second largest county, he got 194,691 votes.  Said Schillerstrom: "I go into this race with the biggest base.  The candidate that gets 200,000 votes in this primary is going to be the winner.  And I'm the only candidate out there that's gotten that many votes in the past (since Ryan)."

  Bloomington State Senator Bill Brady got just over 135,000 votes (18%) in his third place finish in the 2006 gubernatorial primary and is hoping to use that number as a base on which to build a winning plurality.  Former Party Chairman Andy McKenna scored 97,238 votes in the 2004 U.S. Senate Primary.   Kirk Dillard has won only his state senate seat in the past.  Businessmen Adam Andrzejewski and Dan Proft have never run for public office. 

  The seven republican candidates, all of them repeating a "no tax increase" mantra, sincerely believe that ANY of them could beat either Pat Quinn or Dan Hynes in November of 2010 using that issue alone.  But first, one of them will have to win their party's primary.

  And there's an idea of how many votes it will take to do that.




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