Campaigns and elections in Illinois are always interesting and exciting spectacles. They are full of colorful characters, great plots, and unexpected twists to the story line. Each election brings new characters and different stories, but each builds on the rich tradition and culture of a big and diverse state which takes its politics and politicians quite seriously. A state which over the last half century has produced such notables as Everett Dirksen, Paul Douglas, Adlai Stevenson, Jr., Charles Percy, Paul Simon, Alan Dixon, Richard Ogilvie, Dan Walker, Dan Rostenkowski, Richard J. Daley, Harold Washington, Richard M. Daley, Russell Arrington, Phil Rock, Michael Madigan, Pate Phillip, Roland Burris, George Ryan, Jim Edgar, Jim Thompson, Richard Durbin, Barack Obama, Emil Jones, Judy Barr Topinka, and Rod Blagojevich clearly has a great political culture and a compelling political history. We have had our scoundrels and some have ended up in federal prison. We have had our statesmen of the past and some of our present leaders hold national office with great prominence and prospects for national leadership.