Illinois Democrats may have a primary election contest for governor after all. Edwin Eisendrath, a former Chicago alderman who also ran the Chicago office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was an unsuccessful congressional candidate, is considering challenging Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the March primary election.
No doubt there are plenty of people, Democrats included, who wouldn't mind seeing the governor have to defend himself twice in one year. But whether Eisendrath can mount a serious campaign – or any campaign – is dubious.
He would start late – less than a month before candidates file nominating papers – long after other candidates have begun their campaigning and, more importantly, their fundraising.
But any challenger to Blagojevich starts with one advantage. A Chicago Tribune poll last month showed that even among Democrats, only 55 percent approved of the job the governor has done. And 44 percent of independents, a large slice of Illinois voters, don't want to see him re-elected.
Eisendrath has been cautious in his statements thus far, not seeming too critical of the governor. "I have a sense that the public trust has been jeopardized, and we're not able to have the kind of dialogue that brings people together to tackle very difficult problems," he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
That's not exactly red-meat stuff. And it has some observers wondering if Eisendrath would run only to keep Democrats from crossing over to vote Republican in the March primary to support Judy Baar Topinka, the GOP gubernatorial candidate who Blagojevich fears most because she appeals to female voters, a key component of the governor's strategy.
The best thing about an Eisendrath candidacy, or any primary campaign for that matter, is that it gives voters more choices. And that's never a bad thing.