The Illinois Republican Party has been trying to tie Democratic candidates to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. But at least one former party leader isn't optimistic about that strategy. Former governor Jim Edgar says the "fire Madigan" campaign is a gimmick.
That's not necessarily bad -- campaigns need gimmicks, he says ... but Edgar says Republicans ought to be focusing on winning more elections.
"I'd like to see more Republicans in the legislature, and yeah, I'd like to see Tom Cross as Speaker. I'm not so -- [I don't] think we ought to just concentrate on telling the Democrats they ought to get rid of Mike Madigan. That's their decision."
Edgar was governor from 1991 to 1999, and says there were times when he and Madigan worked well together.
He says he still has a lot of respect for the longtime speaker. He was a little less generous in a subtle comment about another Democrat ... Governor Pat Quinn.
"I would hope the Democrats would do a better job picking their candidates for governor, so when they get the governorship, that the governor can govern and you don't have to rely on Mike Madigan to try to run the Democratic Party, too."
Despite Republicans' focused effort on the "fire Madigan" campaign, a recent Chicago Tribune poll found that half of respondents either had no opinion on the speaker or didn't even know who he was.
Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report.