I've been a bit cynical about the IL-gubernatorial race lately, for some understandable reasons, but I shouldn't fret too much.
Since Topinka won the GOP primary, she's been trailing Blagojevich in polls anywhere from 10-20 points. I take that seriously, but the fact of the matter is that only recently did the actual race begin. Topinka's campaign ads against Blagojevich only recently started, while the incumbent Governor has been running ads for several weeks.
The significant news here is that a recent poll shows Topinka behind by only 6 points. More than a month out from the election, that's not a bad deficit.
Let's not forget the problems that Topinka still faces. Her campaign has coffers that are just a drop in the bucket for Blagojevich. She also lacks the name recognition that is the incumbent's advantage. Still, I would attribute the rise in polls to a growing exposure of her campaign as well as continuing revelations of scandal and corruption in Blagojevich's administration.
The latest scandal is an extension of the charges of corrupt hiring practices. As the story goes, shortly after Blagojevich gave a woman a high-ranking job in the administration, her husband gave the Governor's 7-year old daughter a birthday check of $1500.
That's big spending for a $43k/year job.
Of course, other scandals or issues seem to be engulfing Blagojevich at an expanding rate: His program of importing Canadian drugs has been shown to be cost ineffective, continuing allegations of illegal hiring practices, blatant "Santa Claus" style political spending, raiding state pension funds to pay for said spending, and on and on.
Blagojevich has been avoiding major embarrassment on a lot of these issues so far, so I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for these to boost Topinka ahead of him in the polls. I maintain my opinion that the reason he'll be re-elected is because of the "D" next to his name on the ballot.