The voices are getting stronger...the ads becoming more frequent...as the Republican candidates vie for the spot that will take on incumbent Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. Rock valley college political science professor P.S. Ruckman says if you're a republican candidate...
"You focus on the fact that there's been a challenge to the Governor within his own party, usually you don't see something like that. That's a sign of incumbent weakness," says Ruckman.
"You do what you can to improve those ratings, sign a lot of legislation between now and then and get out among the public and make your case...and use the perks of office to increase your visibility," says Ruckman.
Ruckman says Republican front-runners--Judy Barr Topinka and Jim Oberweis...need to be careful not to beat up on each other too much because at this point, neither one have the numbers to beat Blagojevich.
"Contest each other, point out different issues, have heated open debates... but be careful about destroying each other when it comes toward the end, they may have to throw their support to each other," says Ruckman.
Ruckman says the Republican Party is still in disarray following the Ryan administration so the goal is to change its image.
"This election is about the democrats enhancing a significant lead in Illinois politics with potential long-term ramifications. And it's about Republicans trying to do what they can to stay in existence, and serious contenders in Illinois state politics," says Ruckman.
Ruckman says there's an anti-incumbency mood swirling around the state, a situation that arises whenever there's a struggling economy. But most agree the race for governor will be close.