To the surprise of few, State Treasurer and former State Party Chairman Judy Baar Topinka won the five-candidate Republican primary for governor of Illinois. Topinka, whose liberal positions on abortion and spending were unique in this primary, rolled up 38% of the vote over four opponents — all of whom were pro-life, and all of whom called for holding the line on and making cuts in state spending. Her closest competitor was dairyman Jim Oberweiss with 32% followed by State Sen. Bill Brady with 19%. Topinka now faces Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
In the most hotly contested Republican primary for Congress, investment banker David McSweeney defeated attorney Kathy Salvi for the GOP nod to take on freshman Rep. Melissa Bean in the 8th District. The wife of conservative former state legislator and 1996 U.S. Senate nominee Al Salvi, Kathy had the backing of the pro-family Susan B. Anthony List and former Republican Rep. (1969-2004) Phil Crane, whom Bean unseated in ’04. McSweeney is also a strong conservative.
In the 6th District being vacated by venerable Republican Rep. Henry Hyde, the lawmaker’s longtime friend and fellow conservative, State Sen. Pete Roskam, is the GOP nominee. He faces an unusually tough fall race from Democrat Tammy Duckworth, a wounded Iraqi war veteran.