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Oberweis urged to drop his bid

by Robert Novak

Impor­tant Illi­nois Repub­li­cans are urg­ing dairy mogul Jim Ober­weis, who lost the dis­trict pre­vi­ous­ly held by Speak­er J. Den­nis Hastert, to drop out of the com­pe­ti­tion for a full term. How­ev­er, it is unlike­ly Ober­weis would con­sid­er step­ping aside.

Ober­weis, who had lost three pre­vi­ous bids for statewide office, won nom­i­na­tions to fill the unex­pired term of the resigned Hastert and for the two-year term. After los­ing his self-financed cam­paign to busi­ness­man-sci­en­tist Bill Fos­ter for the short term, Ober­weis is giv­en lit­tle chance in a Novem­ber rerun.

Los­ing Hastert’s pre­dom­i­nant­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict means the Democ­rats can gain two to four addi­tion­al con­gres­sion­al seats from Illi­nois in this year’s elec­tions.

GOP strate­gists at work

The dis­graced Eliot Spitzer had hard­ly resigned as gov­er­nor of New York when Repub­li­can strate­gists began cal­cu­lat­ing a return to pow­er in Albany via New York May­or Michael Bloomberg.

Lt. Gov. David Pater­son, Spitzer’s suc­ces­sor as gov­er­nor, is con­sid­ered a weak prospect for the 2010 elec­tion and might not even be the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee. Bloomberg, fin­ish­ing two suc­cess­ful terms as may­or in 2009, might find life as a pri­vate cit­i­zen bor­ing enough to try for gov­er­nor.

Bloomberg, who changed his affil­i­a­tion from Repub­li­can to inde­pen­dent, could obtain the Inde­pen­dence Par­ty nom­i­na­tion for gov­er­nor and then be endorsed by the GOP.

A foot­note: Demo­c­ra­t­ic state leg­is­la­tors watch­ing tele­vi­sion Mon­day cheered when they heard the dis­liked Spitzer admit his guilt. But that joy fad­ed as the Democ­rats con­tem­plat­ed that Spitzer’s fall could trig­ger a Repub­li­can come­back in 2010. Democ­rats con­tem­plate a takeover of all branch­es of the state gov­ern­ment to con­trol decen­ni­al redis­trict­ing.

Pre­dict­ing Spitzer’s depar­ture

Repub­li­can polit­i­cal oper­a­tive Roger Stone, Eliot Spitzer’s long­time antag­o­nist, pre­dict­ed his polit­i­cal demise more than three months in advance.

”Eliot Spitzer will not serve out his term as gov­er­nor of the state of New York,” Stone said Dec. 6 on Michael Smer­con­ish’s radio talk show. He gave no details.

Spitzer’s entrap­ment by fed­er­al author­i­ties inves­ti­gat­ing a pros­ti­tu­tion ring raised spec­u­la­tion that Stone, with a 40-year record as a polit­i­cal hit man, some­how was behind it. In truth, Stone had noth­ing to do with the inves­ti­ga­tion and said he had not heard about it when he made a pre­dic­tion based on his gen­er­al view of Spitzer.

Reclu­sive Barack

Ear­ly morn­ing train­ers and exer­cis­ers at the Greenville, Miss., YMCA last Tues­day, Mis­sis­sip­pi’s pri­ma­ry day, got a taste of Sen. Barack Oba­ma’s reclu­sive­ness, which the trav­el­ing press corps has learned to accept.

After speak­ing at Touga­loo Col­lege on Mon­day night, Oba­ma went to the ”Y” at 6:30 a.m. for a work­out. He greet­ed nobody and did not respond when peo­ple there called out to him.

After fin­ish­ing his work­out, Oba­ma returned to his gre­gar­i­ous cam­paign mode with a vis­it to black-owned Buck­’s restau­rant in Greenville before leav­ing the state. He won Mis­sis­sip­pi com­fort­ably against Sen. Hillary Clin­ton.

Cox for VP?

For­mer con­ser­v­a­tive col­leagues in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives are boost­ing Christo­pher Cox, chair­man of the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion since 2005, to be Sen. John McCain’s vice pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate.

A White House aide under Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan, Cox served 16 years as a con­gress­man from Orange Coun­ty, Calif., and was chair­man of the House Repub­li­can Pol­i­cy Com­mit­tee. He was named as a fed­er­al appeals court judge to begin Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion, but with­drew after Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen. Bar­bara Box­er of Cal­i­for­nia announced her oppo­si­tion.

For­mer Rep. Rob Port­man of Ohio, who also was a mem­ber of the House lead­er­ship before join­ing the Bush Cab­i­net, is being pro­mot­ed for vice pres­i­dent by Wash­ing­ton insid­ers. But Cox’s back­ers in the House argue that Port­man lacks Cox’s stature in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, which they say McCain needs.


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