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|Topinka Runs for Comptroller
|Judy Baar Topinka is getting back into politics.
When last seen, Topinka had served three terms as state treasurer, and was the losing candidate for governor in 2006. She was the last Republican to hold statewide office. On Sunday, she announced her comeback attempt: A bid for comptroller.
Topinka says she's an insider who knows how things work and she can no longer stand by and watch the state be financially mismanaged. Topinka says she has never been accused of being shy, and she prides herself on being cheap, and she says those traits will make her a fiscal watchdog.
The most notorious episode in Topinka's political career was in 1995, her first year as treasurer, when she offered to settle a $40 million state debt for $10 million. The debt was owed by the businessmen who had taken state loans in 1982 to develop hotels in Springfield and Collinsville, but had not repaid them. One of the debtors was political powerhouse William Cellini, who is now facing federal corruption charges. The Topinka offer was scotched by the attorney general (Jim Ryan), and the state now owns the Springfield hotel. Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias will auction it off in December.
Topinka, 65, a Riverside resident, served as treasurer from 1995-2007. She served as a state representative from 1980-84, and was a state senator from 1984-95. She also served briefly as chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. It was under her chairmanship that Alan Keyes was selected to run for U.S. Senate in 2004, though she personally opposed the decision.
She is being challenged in the Republican primary by Jim Dodge, a city council member in Orland Park, and minor television personality William J. Kelly.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|10 26 09 by Newsroom
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