New ad campaign targets Topinka

Monday, March 20, 2006

A new political ad tries to link gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka to former Governor George Ryan. Jim Oberweis is running the ad targeting his opponent in Tuesday's republican primary.

In the ad, Topinka is accused of doing the "pay for play polka." Judy Baar Topinka's danced the polka with dozens of politicians over the years, including Vice President Dick Cheney. So when an ABC 7 photographer captured her and then Governor George Ryan on stage at the state fair in Springfield a few years ago, no one expected the footage to pop up in a negative campaign ad aimed at pushing her off the dance floor in the final days of the republican primary for governor. The choreographer is opponent Jim Oberweis who is finishing the campaign with a burst of creativity.

In the final days before the primary election, Judy Baar Topinka -- the GOP frontrunner in all the polls -- is trying to survive what may be the last and probably most memorable attack ad of the campaign. Challenger Jim Oberweis using news footage of an innocent dance at a state fair to suggest that Topinka's a lot like the former governor who is on trial for alleged corruption.

"That is a graphic representation of the fact that Judy is a part of the political system and she has been a part of the political system for 25 years," said Jim Oberweis, (R) Candidate for Governor.

Topinka says the polka ad won't be any more effective than the other negative attacks by her opponents.

"You know what it did work, my numbers held. I think the public understands. I think they made up their minds," said Judy Baar Topinka, (R) Candidate for Governor.

Oberweis seems to agree, so he is also suggesting that he and Topinka's two other main opponents -- Chicago businessman Ron Gidwitz and downstate legislator Bill Brady -- draw straws with the losers dropping out so Topinka has only one opponent.

"It's nuts. I mean it is appositely silly, but when you think about it we have two days left in the campaign and it is the silly season. This is emblematic of that kind of behavior," said Ron Gidwitz, (R) Candidate for Governor.

"I think that if we do nothing, if there are no bold moves there is about a 50-percent chance that Judy will win. I think that would be the worse thing for the Republicab party," said Oberweis.

"The problem is he is desperate. His campaign is desperate. This is the third campaign he is run. Looks like it will be the third loss. He is taking desperate attempts to alter that but it is not going to happen," said Bill Brady, (R) Candidate for Governor.

Brady may know something we don't because Oberweis is running second behind Topinka in virtually every media poll, but he can't close the gap with Gidwitz and Brady attracting their own support so he suggested drawing straws. In the drawing Oberweis would've had ten to one each for Gidwitz and Brady. Oberweis says that's because he's the strongest challenger. In any event, it's not happening. No one is dropping out.

Topinka will get a big boost Monday when former Governor Jim Edgar -- who is still very popular in G.O.P. circles -- joins her for a statewide fly-around.

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