Keyes finalist in bid with Obama

By WND Staff

Some are calling it a political dream match – Barack Obama, the up-and-coming Democratic Party star, vs. Alan Keyes, the dogged, determined, super-articulate, passionate conservative Republican.

Alan Keyes

It could happen, as Illinois Republican leaders have determined Keyes is one of two finalists in a nearly six-week search for a new Republican U.S. Senate candidate to take on Obama.

The other candidate being considered is former Bush administration deputy drug czar Andrea Grubb Barthwell.

Republican Party state chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka announced last night that party leaders would interview Keyes and Barthwell today and then choose one to take on the heavily favored Obama.

Jack Ryan, the Republican primary winner, dropped his Senate campaign in late June over embarrassing allegations about his sex life.

Party leaders tried unsuccessfully to persuade former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka to take the political plunge.

Barthwell, a physician from the Chicago suburb of River Forest, was deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2002 until last month, when she quit to explore a Senate run.

Keyes, a conservative commentator, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate twice from his home state of Maryland and sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000. He has never lived in Illinois but under state law would only have to take up residence by election day, Nov. 2.

State Sen. Dave Syverson, a member of the panel seeking a candidate to run against Obama, said he spoke to Keyes several times yesterday but received no commitment.

”It would be a classic race of conservative vs. liberal,” Syverson told the Chicago paper. ”It would put this race on the map in this country – just for excitement.”

Barack Obama

Obama, an Illinois state senator, gave a stirring speech at the Democratic convention that raised his stock with party members who see him as a future presidential candidate.

Keyes, a WorldNetDaily columnist, heads up RenewAmerica and the Declaration Foundation, organizations looking to preserve the founding principles of America.

Obama, the son of a Kenyan immigrant father and a Kansan, was heralded by media during the convention as a centrist, but he has been given perfect 100 scores by liberal groups such as the Planned Parenthood Council, the Illinois Environmental Council, the National Association of Social Workers and Citizen Action Illinois.

He denounced the war in Iraq, saying, “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”

Obama received an F grade from the National Rifle Association and a “zero” from the Federation for Right to Life, a pro-life group.

In the Illinois legislature, Obama sponsored a bill to document racial profiling, requiring police officers to record the race, age and gender of anyone they stop. He also has sponsored legislation for universal health care.

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