Several factors will determine how next year’s election for comptroller plays out. Geography is one, with Democrat Sheila Simon, who lives in Carbondale, hoping for strong support in Southern Illinois. “That will certainly be an advantage. People in my part of the state are not often trusting of candidates from much further north, so to be a Southern Illinoisan is something that definitely gives some reassurance to other Southern Illinoisans,” she said.
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But Republican incumbent Judy Baar Topinka, from Riverside in the Chicago suburbs, says the issues the office faces affect people statewide. “We have to make sure that we don’t have the credit (rating) companies downgrading us because we’re in such a bad state of affairs. I just won’t have it. I mean, it personally bothers me, and it should bother every citizen of the state of Illinois,” she said.
Another factor will be whether Simon can raise the money to compete with Topinka, who is as well-known as any Illinois politician, serving in various offices since 1980. Simon says at lieutenant governor, she has been able to make herself known across the state.