Governor and Senate Race Analysis

With seven Republican candidates and a Democratic challenger to a Democratic incumbent, this year's gubernatorial race is one to watch.

We caught up with former attorney general Jim Ryan. He is looking for Stateline voters to give him an edge. He promises to crack down on corruption. He also says he will bring more jobs to Rockford. But when asked for his "Rockford-specific" job plan he didn't share any details.

"I made a commitment here upstairs and I mean it. I will work very close with the business leaders here as well as the local public officials to try to jump start the economy here in Rockford." says Ryan.

NIU political science professor Matt Streb says Ryan and opponent Andy McKenna lead the Republicans right now. Unfortunately for them, Streb thinks the race still leans Democratic. He adds that it's rare to have a sitting governor challenged by his own party.

Although Quinn is the front runner between the two Democrats, he says Dan Hynes is spending a lot of money and putting up a spirited challenge. Streb says issue number one is still the economy, but to a lesser extent voters are worried about corruption.

"The race is certainly going to be close. By no means is the Democratic nominee a slam dunk. Most of the prognosticators seem to indicate that this is going to be a leans Democratic year for the governorship, but a lot of things can change between now and then." says Streb.

Some of the changes Streb mentions include possible shifts in the economy. He also thinks the lingering memory of ex-governor Rod Blagojevich could still have a roll to play in this election.

The other big race this year is the senate seat vacated by President Obama.

State Congressman Mark Kirk leads the Republicans right now. Streb says he is a strong candidate statewide even though he is not with the republicans 100% of the time.

Democrats Cheryl Jackson and David Hoffman are hoping their progressive issue campaigns will lift them to victory... But Streb says it is going to be hard for them to compete with State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias' money machine and name recognition.

The economy will still be issue number one, but Streb says corruption will be a bigger issue for this race than for others.

"Corruption has emerged more so on the Democratic side of the Senate race than it has in other races and that makes sense being that that's the seat to replace Roland Burris and the controversies that surround that seat." adds Streb.

The primaries are two weeks from today.

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