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Topinka: Voters Get What They Deserve

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Topinka: Voters Get What They Deserve

Judy Barr Topinka in 2006. (AP/Nam Y. Huh)

As the impeachment trial of governor Rod Blagojevich gets underway today in the Illinois Senate we get insights from a politician who’s got a special place in the history of the Blagojevich years. Judy Baar Topinka was the republican nominee who challenged governor Rod Blagojevich in the 2-thousand six election. She lost and she says now Illinois voters are getting exactly what they deserve.

Judy Baar Topinka has a reputation for being blunt. I was reminded of that again this morning when I ran into her at a breakfast gathering of civic and business leaders. I asked her what she thinks of the political circus surrounding Blagojevich and Illinois state government.

TOPINKA: It makes us all look like a bunch of Bozo’s... Rather than a legal campaign.

This morning Blagojevich appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and The View. He continues to make the argument that the rules governing the Senate impeachment trial do not give him a chance to defend himself. He also says he expects to be removed from office. Topinka says she thinks the govenor’s current media blitz is geared not towards this weeks Senate trial, but towards the criminal trial which, if he’s found guilty, could result in him losing more than just his job.

TOPINKA: His running around like this... He can walk.

When Topinka thinks back on her decision to run against Blagojevich in 2006 she talks about it in epic terms.

TOPINKA: I gave up a job I....obviously it did not.

Topinka thought she had a good chance of winning but then she says Republican supporters, the people who write the big checks to fund campaigns, they were all backing Blagojevich.

TOPINKA: We were stunned...don’t do that.

Topinka says some of her republican friends also wouldn’t even talk to her during the campaign because they didn’t want to jeopardize business deals they had going with the state.

TOPINKA: Yeah, go along get along...Horrible!

Topinka says she hasn’t been able to laugh at, or revel in the demise of her old foe. She says she dedicated a 26 year career to the state of Illinois and citing the state’s staggering debt, the former state treasurer says Illinois is now quote, “blowing up around us.”

Related: Wildeboer’s complete conversation with Topinka

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