Illinois Republicans cannot be described as ecstatic over the selection of Alan Keyes to run for the Senate seat against Barack Obama, and they’re really stretching for reasons to support bringing in someone from out of state.
U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, was among GOP members who pledged to support the 54-year-old Maryland resident even though, privately, others were shaking their heads about the surprising selection.
“If the party believes he’s the best candidate for the race, then I’m with him,” said LaHood, who offered to campaign with Keyes in his 18th Congressional District in central Illinois.
Retiring U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, an Inverness Republican who has clashed with state party leaders in the past, said he has encouraged Keyes to step in for dropout nominee Jack Ryan. It is Fitzgerald’s open Senate seat that’s at the heart of the possible Nov. 2 contest between Keyes and Obama, eloquent political opposites who are both African-American and Harvard-educated.
“We’ve got to come together and do the best that we can, and maybe it’s a good idea to have someone from out of state who doesn’t have a history of the intramural party battles in Illinois, which are really kind of debilitating,” Fitzgerald said.
Makes you want to run right out and register as a Republican in Illinois, doesn’t it?