As hard as it is to imagine, former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar is looking more and more like he's really going to run for the Republican nomination for governor.
Is he crazy? No, even though some might suggest that he is for looking so seriously at leaving a leisurely private life for the rough-and-tumble of politics. Edgar appears legitimately concerned about the state's direction under Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and isn't persuaded any of the other possible GOP candidates have what it takes to run and win.
State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka is perceived by some as a potentially winning candidate. I can't speak to her abilities as a candidate, although I don't consider her a top-drawer campaigner. But I think she would be an inept governor in far over her head as the state's chief executive. Being state treasurer is nothing like being governor.
Plus, her ties to the Ryan/Cellini combine make her extremely suspect in terms of providing a new direction for the ethics-challenged GOP.
The other potential candidates also suffer from major weaknesses, either in their ability to run and win or govern.
Despite Blago's current stance in the polls, he'll be one tough customer.
For starters, he's a crafty politician, and Illinois is a solid Democratic state.
Secondly, Blago has a bushel-full of money that he'll spend on radio and TV villifying whomever the GOP nominates. In Edgar's case, Blago can be expected to go after him as soon as he announces, even if it's well before the filing date, let alone the March primary. That tactic will level the playing field considerably in the case of everyone but Edgar, who is a known quantity and be positioned to be able to withstand Blago's attacks.
Despite Edgar's close examination of whether or not to run, it would still come as a surprise to me if he does run. There are just too many personal reasons for him not to run. But the longer he waits to decide, the better the indication that he's decided to get back in the game and the better the choice voters will have in next year's election.