Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Illinois primary election examined by UIS political experts

Three noted University of Illinois Springfield professors recently took part in a community forum, answering questions about the upcoming Illinois primary election. The presentation was held on January 26 at the Public Affairs Center on campus.

Political experts Chris Mooney, Professor of Political Science; Kent Redfield, Professor Emeritus of Political Science; and Charlie Wheeler, Director of the Public Affairs Reporting Program presented insight and analysis and invited questions from the audience.

“It’s an opportunity we like to take, to get together and talk about elections. People get very interested and excited. You’ve got races that are close,” said Mooney.

The February 2 primary election features a battle for the GOP and Democratic nomination for governor, as well as the U.S. senate seat once held by President Barack Obama. Political experts say it’s the governor’s race that could turn out to be the most interesting.

“If you look at the polling, you’ll see on the democratic side the two major candidates, Governor Quinn and Comptroller Hynes are within the margin of error for the polls. On the republican side, nobody seems to have emerged from the field,” said Wheeler.

The UIS political team takes hundreds of phone calls every year from members of the media looking for experts to speak on election and legislative topics.

“The media always need to get a fresh perspective that doesn’t come from one of the candidates or the parties,” said Mooney.

The primary forum was sponsored by Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science National Honor Society. The group plans to host similar forums in the future.

“UIS is sort of wired into state government and politics in a way that really makes us unique,” said Mooney.

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