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'The Election File' voting guide: So, who's running for comptroller?

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Three-term incumbent Dan Hynes has put in for that big promotion to governor, so this is an open office. Contested primaries will be held next Tuesday for both Democrats and Republicans.

Dan Hynes is the outgoing comptroller. (WBEZ/Sam Hudzik) The Job Description “Comptroller, in accordance with law, shall maintain the State’s central fiscal accounts, and order payments into and out of the funds held by the Treasurer." (Article 5, Section 17 of the Illinois Constitution) The Democrats The candidates include lawyer and former deputy state treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi of Hoffman Estates, Wilmette lawyer and Center for Open Government founder Clint Krislov and dentist and state Representative David Miller of Lynwood. All the candidates are talking about fighting corruption and waste. For more on issues, check out their websites: Krishnamoorthi’s, Krislov’s and Miller’s. It’s been a relatively scandal-free primary, but Krishnamoorthi’s past work in the treasurer’s office has come up. Specifically, Miller is questioning his rival’s role in investment losses in a Bright Start college savings fund (read Trib background here, and SouthtownStar here). That issue didn’t prevent Krishnamoorthi from snagging two of the three big Chicago area editorial board endorsements. The Tribune wrote that Miller “is one of the best members of the House," but opted for a “fresh perspective" in its endorsement. The paper picked Krishnamoorthi, calling him “a game-changer"¦filled with innovative ideas," while noting he “would be the first Asian American to hold statewide office." Likewise, the Sun-Times endorsed Krishnamoorthi because of the “detailed agenda [he] has mapped for the office," while adding that “Democrats would not go wrong with the two other candidates for the office." The Daily Herald writes “it’s difficult to find much to criticize" in the three Democrats, but picks Krislov, whom it calls “ethics-minded"¦[with] the courage to stand up to powerful public and private interests." Campaign money-wise, Miller ended 2009 with more than $388,000 in available cash (see who donated to him). Krishnamoorthi (see who donated to him) had nearly $230,000 in the bank. Krislov - through December 31- had paid all his campaign bills out of his own pocket, or his company’s pocket (you can find those expenses by clicking through this page). The Green R. Erika Schafer of Chicago is director of financial services at the non-profit Center for Economic Progress. This is her first run for office, but she’s a member of the Logan Square Green Party. Her website is not up and running yet, though I’m told her main issues will be fiscal oversight, and tax and budget reform. The Republicans This primary has focused mostly on the record and resume of Judy Baar Topinka: three-term former comptroller, 2006 Blagojevich casualty. She faces Nielsen Company executive, Orland Park trustee and Young Republican leader Jim Dodge, and cable TV producer and personality, William Kelly. Dodge has gone after both his opponents in internet videos, Kelly for drunkenness, and Topinka on electability. Kelly has focused on other politicians altogether, with impromptu appearances at events for Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn. He also tried to get some attention by suing to stop the Thomson prison sale. Read about their positions on the issues at their websites: Dodge’s, Kelly’s and Topinka’s. Of note: Topinka advocates combining the office she wants (comptroller) with the office she knows so well (treasurer). Topinka cleaned-up at the newspaper editorial boards. The Tribune says if she’d been elected governor in 2006, Illinois would “be in stronger financial shape today." The Trib also called Dodge “impressive." The Sun-Times called Topinka “irrepressible" and lauded her “dedication to good government and knowledge of state finances." The Daily Herald gave Topinka the nod because it writes she will “use the comptroller’s office to spread the doctrine of fiscal restraint and accountability." As of December 31, Topinka had more than $210,000 in her campaign account (see who donated to her), Dodge topped $13,000 (see who donated to him) and Kelly had a little over a grand (see who donated to him). Up Next Still to come this week, we’ll look at the crowded race for lieutenant governor. In the meantime, check out our blog from Monday on the candidates running for treasurer, and The Election File for all our political coverage.

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