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Monday Roundup: Senate GOPers Catch a Break; New Polls in Ala. and Ill. Gov. Races

A few political notes from over the weekend:

* WASHINGTON: On Friday, Diane Tebelius dropped her bid for the GOP nomination for next year's Senate race and endorsed the candidacy of former Safeco insurance company executive Mike McGavick (R). McGavick now has a clear shot (at the moment) at Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), whom Republicans believe is among the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2006.  Tebelius, who placed second in a primary in Washington's 8th Congressional District last year, told the Associated Press that "it's always tough to give up on something you think is a dream."

* ALABAMA: A new poll conducted by the Mobile Register and the University of South Alabama shows Gov. Bob Riley (R) besting both of his potential opponents in the 2006 gubernatorial race. Riley led former governor Don Siegelman (D) 46 percent to 31 percent and has a slightly more narrow 44 percent to 33 percent edge over Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley.

Former state Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore, who is challenging Riley in the Republican primary, trailed Baxley 44 percent to 37 percent and was deadlocked at 40 percent with Siegelman.

Unfortunately, no primary numbers for either side were released.

* ILLINOIS: State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R) is the strong favorite among Illinois Republican primary voters to be their nominee against Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), according to a survey conducted by the Chicago Tribune and WGN. The problem is Topinka isn't sure she wants to run.

Topinka led the Republican field in the poll with 31 percent of the vote. Dairy magnate Jim Oberweis placed second with 15 percent while four other Republicans took single digits.  Given the fact that Topinka favors abortion rights and is generally considered to be on the moderate/liberal end of the party, her lead may have more to do with name recognition than excitement among GOP primary voters, many of whom tend to be more conservative on social issues. 

Topinka said at the end of last month that she would decide shortly on a bid.  Illinois Republicans are waiting expectantly.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 17, 2005; 5:24 PM ET
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