Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Milkman on the attack...

Oberweis turns up heat on Topinka
By Eric KrolDaily Herald Political Writer
Posted Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Republican governor candidate Jim Oberweis today will begin airing a pair of TV ads blasting opponent Judy Baar Topinka for a controversial Springfield hotel loan deal and a pending federal investigation in her treasurer’s office.
With ethics looming as a top issue as former Gov. George Ryan’s corruption trial wraps up, the Sugar Grove dairy magnate is going on the offensive as the March 21 primary looms.
“Topinka tried to give away millions of taxpayer dollars to insider friends. A deal so rotten the Republican attorney general ordered it blocked,” an announcer says.
That’s a reference to Topinka’s proposed 1995 settlement of a state-backed loan for two downstate hotels with politically connected investors. Then-Attorney General Jim Ryan scuttled the deal.
Topinka told the Daily Herald editorial board last week she stands by the deal, although she admitted she should have tried to build consensus before proposing it.
The other ad refers to a list of hotel investors that top Topinka aides allegedly ordered a spokesman to shred. The aides denied it.
The second ad also refers to a 2003 subpoena for documents by the U.S. Attorney’s office following an ex-employee’s complaint that political work was being done on state time.
Topinka said she hasn’t heard back from authorities and doesn’t expect to. Topinka spokesman Eric Robinson said the ad is an “over the top” attack by a candidate lagging behind Topinka in the polls.
“Like milk gone bad, the Oberweis campaign has soured Illinois Republican voters once again,” Robinson said.
Oberweis joins Chicago millionaire Ron Gidwitz in ripping Topinka via TV. Like Gidwitz, Oberweis closes his–30-second ad with 15 seconds of himself talking about why he’s the best choice. Combining a negative ad with a candidate’s positive message, while cost-effective, also tends to drive up voters’ negative impressions of the candidate running the ad.
The other major Republican in the race, Bloomington state Sen. Bill Brady, has run a biographical ad downstate.
The GOP primary winner will face Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich or ex-Chicago alderman Edwin Eisdendrath.