SPRINGFIELD - Even before Tuesday's arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges, the ripples of promise had begun flowing ashore for beleaguered Illinois Republicans.
Although the washed-out GOP has weathered two rough election cycles since the demise of former party standard bearer Gov. George Ryan, political gridlock in a state controlled by Democrats was shaping up as a major campaign theme for 2010.Blagojevich's blockbuster problems transformed those ripples into a tidal wave.
"The Republicans have now an opportunity to win a statewide office that they didn't have before," said John Jackson, a political scientist with the Paul Simon Public Policy Center at Southern Illinois University.
In 2010, all of the state's top offices now held by Democrats are up for grabs. So, too, is the U.S. Senate seat once held by President-elect Barack Obama, no matter who holds it in the interim.Names of potential candidates have been circulating for months.
On the Democratic side, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias have acknowledged they are considering a gubernatorial run.
State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Mo;line, has floated his name as a potential statewide candidate.