Let's start with the Senate seat that is literally up for grabs. Republicans in Illinois smell a chance to win it back. The seat was originally held by Democrat Carol Mosley Braun during the Clinton Adminstration. She then made a lot of questionable choices (as Aaron Freeman quipped, "She's the first politician to ruin her career without making any money") and a fit of voter annoyance, the seat went to Peter Fitzgerald of the R's. Fitzgerald was a true independent who took his job seriously, appointing AG's who wanted to clean up the culture of sleaze in Illinois. The R's didn't like someone closing up their buffet, and refused to support him. He decided not to run for re-election, and Jack Ryan was running for the seat for the R's. Then, his marriage to Star Trek: Voyager actress and fap material Jeri Ryan busted up. There were stories that he took her to a sex club and asked her to participate. She said no and they left. This isn't the problem. The problem is, with the election coming up, he tried to bury her statements in the custody hearings and asked reporters not to probe to protect his kids' delicate sensibilities. The voters didn't like him using his kids as shields, and put a little known politician on the rise named Barrack Obama in there. Obama became President, and there was talk of a special election to fill his seat. The front runner at the time was an R. The D's didn't want to lose the seat and blocked the vote for a special election. Thanks to the delay, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was able to appoint Roland "Tombstone" Burris to serve the rest of the term. Burris is not running for re-election -- his war chest got less than $1,000 in contributions, so he's dead in the water.
So now, the R's want the seat they claimed they wanted when they forced out the guy who was actually doing the job right. The frontrunner for the R's nomination is Mark Kirk. They are behind him, even though he supports abortion rights and gun control, both an anathema to the party platform. Also, the Tea Party Patriots in the state think he's full of shit. Reason enough for me not to vote for him.
On the D's side, the front runner is 33 year old Alexi Giannoulias, the current state Treasurer (who hasn't served a full term in office yet). He says Obama is his mentor. Reason enough for me not to vote for him. And, in addition to, on top of that, his only previous work experience was for a family bank currently in financial trouble. Boy, do we know how to pick them.
For the office of gov, the D's have Pat Quinn, the lite gov who got promoted when Blago was told to hit the bricks. Quinn has given voters lots of reason to vote against him. He has increased taxes and state fees (renewing your license went from $15 to $35, more than a 100% jump) instead of cutting spending. He wants another tax increase to help right the state instead of cutting wasteful programs. He tried cutting costs by letting some nonviolent inmates out of prison. Whoopsie, there were some violent offenders who got out, too, and they went and committed some serious new crimes. He's dead in the water, too.
For the R's nomination, there are six candidates jockeying for position. Four of them are Machine. Two are independent, Adam Andrzejewski and Dan Proft. Andrzejewski is good, but he's a bit conciliatory. Proft is a firebrand who has been hitting every Tea Party Patriot event in the state and is reaching out to everyone, D's and R's (one of my co-workers got a call last night to sit in on a virtual town meeting Proft was hosting). Proft is looking to stir up some shit, and his pedigree is good. I'm leaning towards him.
This is Illinois. Vote early, vote often!