There's little doubt that the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka would've continued her straight-talking ways during the administration of Governor-elect Bruce Rauner.

Topinka was good copy for reporters. When she criticized a budget or a fiscal position, we listened.

Other Statehouse denizens respected her fiscal smarts as well. If she attacked a proposal, legislators and everyone else under the dome took note.

Rauner showed great deference to Topinka after the election, officing in her Statehouse suite and giving her chief of staff the authority to hire most of his new employees. I don't think there's any question that he grew to truly admire the quirky redhead.

Judy Baar Topinka"Is it weird that I'm kind of glad to have Judy Baar Topinka back?" a Democratic friend of mine asked me the other day.

No, I replied. It's not weird. I'm glad she's back, as well. She's crazy, I said, but in a very sane way.

Topinka was elected state comptroller in November by a huge margin, while spending just $270,000. That's less than half of what it costs to run a decent state House campaign. Some cost many times that.