Democratic state treasurer candidate Alexi Giannoulias has a new poll that shows he has an 11-point lead over his Republican opponent, state Senator Christine Radogno.

Giannoulias has struggled since shortly before the spring primary. Reporters started looking into his family's bank business, and came up with ties to some seriously shady mobsters. Things went downhill fast.

But all the bad publicity hasn't helped Radogno, a moderate, well-liked Republican legislator from the suburbs who had been considered by some to be the Republican with the best chance of winning a statewide race this November.

Rod Blagojevich and Judy Baar Topinka don’t agree on much, but their campaigns concurred last week that Governor Blagojevich is leading in the polls.

The Blagojevich campaign says its latest poll shows the Democratic governor leading the Republican treasurer 47-31 – a seriously large advantage. Topinka’s campaign has Blagojevich ahead 44-37 – a far narrower margin.

Meanwhile, the latest poll from an independent source, The Rasmussen Report, had Blagojevich leading 45-34, which is about right in the middle of the two candidates’ poll results. Still, Topinka’s polling during the spring primary matched up almost exactly with the Chicago Tribune polls, which turned out to be pretty accurate come primary day.

"I've researched this pretty carefully," confided a very high-level Blagojevich administration official this spring over late-night cocktails. "For any of this to be illegal, somebody has to profit. There has to be money involved."

The official was responding to my questions about the swirling allegations of state contracts and jobs handed out to political insiders. Since there was no personal profit, nobody was in any serious legal danger, he claimed.

This month's verdict in Robert Sorich's trial, however, proved that person to be dead wrong.

"There is so much more coming it is breathtaking," an almost always reliable source said recently when asked about the recent flood of news stories about alleged corruption within Governor Rod Blagojevich's administration.

That source wasn't the only one making this prediction. Plenty of others are saying that the Chicago Tribune is sitting on a large pile of explosives. Unlike 1998, when the Tribune mostly sat by while other media outlets ran stories about George Ryan's alleged corruption, the paper is clearly trying to stay out front on this Blagojevich thing. As you may have seen, the Trib published several more stories over the long Independence Day holiday weekend and then published follow-ups for days.

Should citizens of this state have a right to know whether their governor and his administration are under criminal investigation?

According to the Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the answer is "no."

I'm not a big fan of third-party candidates.

It's not that I'm ecstatic about the two-party system. Too many "mainstream" candidates are poll-driven media robots to the point that they make me a little batty.

I wouldn't mind having another choice, if only to force the other candidates to stop acting like automatons and start speaking like human beings again.

The problem is that third-party candidates are usually a bit, um, goofy. Two words: Ross Perot. Need I say more?

When last we heard from state Senator James Meeks, he had dropped out of the governor's race and endorsed Governor Rod Blagojevich's much hyped education/lottery plan. With the proposal currently under fire from almost all corners, I thought it might be a good time to check back in with him. 

Is Governor Rod Blagojevich's administration just as corrupt as or even more corrupt than former Governor George Ryan's crew? A new poll finds a plurality of Illinoisans would answer "yes" to that question.

For years, the governor and his top aides have claimed that politics never touch state hiring.

They swore up and down that they follow the law whenever they fill mid- to low-level civil-service positions, and claimed they don't even know the names of the people who were applying for the jobs.

 

In addition to this column I publish a daily political newsletter called Capitol Fax. A couple of years ago I also started a blog, which can be found at (http://www.thecapitolfaxblog.com).
U.S. Senator Barack Obama

 Running the blog is a real pain sometimes. It’s a lot of work and I’ve had to weed out some truly insane commenters. Still, most commenters have interesting, insightful thoughts, so I thought I’d share some of them with you today.

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