ELMHURST, Ill. – A candidate for the GOP nomination for governor proposed a lopsided game of chance to determine who will face the front-runner in Tuesday's primary, asking two of his opponents to draw straws with him to decide who will stay in the race.
Jim Oberweis, an investment manager and dairy owner, ran the idea by state Sen. Bill Brady and businessman Ron Gidwitz on Thursday. He proposed giving himself 10 chances — but just one for each of his opponents — to draw the winning straw.
Brady and Gidwitz quickly dismissed the idea.
"How could you take that seriously?" Brady asked. A spokeswoman for Gidwitz added: "I guess we've entered the silly phase of the campaign."
Polls show Oberweis running a distant second in the primary to front-runner Judy Baar Topinka, with Brady and Gidwitz farther behind. Oberweis has pushed for Brady and Gidwitz to drop out so they don't split the anti-Topinka vote.
Oberweis argued that Brady and Gidwitz have no chance of winning the primary, and that he should therefore get 10 times as many chances to draw the winning straw.
"It just shows the kind of innovative free-market thinking Jim brings in," Joe Wiegand, Oberweis' campaign manager, said Saturday.
Topinka disagreed, saying: "Oberweis has done some really goofy things but this is just over the top."
Whoever wins the nomination for governor will face Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who has a huge campaign fund in this Democrat-leaning state.
Ethics and corruption have dominated the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. The candidates are simultaneously trying to distance themselves from former GOP Gov. George Ryan, now awaiting a jury's verdict on charges of racketeering and fraud, and tear down Blagojevich.