Maybe the biggest GOP primary question: Who can win?

When the four Republicans running for Illinois governor made their pitches to the party faithful Thursday at the Illinois State Fair, each sought to stress — perhaps above all else — that he’d be electable in 2014 over a Democrat in a blue state.

Here are their arguments boiled down. A lot of it leans on Illinois’ political geography.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale: He’s from the suburbs, often the swing area of the state, and has experience working for former Gov. Jim Edgar.

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa: He’s the only one who’s won a statewide general election and has visited every Illinois county.

State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington: People know him from his close loss to Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010, and he can build on that campaign.

Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner of Chicago: He’s the one who hasn’t held elected office at a time when people are tired of government.

But wait ...

“I think it was the Cook County suburbs that elected Pat Quinn three years ago.”

That’s state Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, who will help decide Friday whether the Cook County party will back Quinn in his primary campaign or challenger Bill Daley of Chicago.

Blackburn drops out

At a breakfast for county chairman Wednesday in Springfield, Will County Auditor Duffy Blackburn used his speech to announce he’ll drop his bid for Illinois comptroller and back Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon in her bid for that seat in the March 18 primary.

Blackburn announced his candidacy before Simon got in, and his move is a good reminder that no races are yet set in stone.

Blackburn had been touting an endorsement from Foster, and his move this week to avoid a primary fight was praised by Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. So maybe look for Blackburn in future races.

Will Cross get in?

So far, the Republican primary for Illinois treasurer is a race between two DuPage County names: County Auditor Bob Grogan and former board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom.

Grogan was at the state fair and said the trip was part of a 40-county tour he’s done so far for the campaign.

“I’ve been running for six months,” he said.

What about the idea of Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego getting into the race? Cross declined to make a bid for Illinois attorney general after Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan decided to run for re-election.

Grogan said he hasn’t heard from Cross.

“I probably expect that to happen,” Grogan said.

Cross wasn’t available for comment, so stay tuned.

Brian Cronin appointment

DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin’s brother, Brian Cronin, has been reappointed by Quinn to his post on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Brian Cronin was first appointed to the $115,840-per-year post by Republican former Gov. Jim Edgar.

Dillard adds suburban face to GOP race for governor

Cross won’t run for attorney general

Harris: Quinn 'poisoned the well'

Kirk Dillard
Bruce Rauner
Dan Rutherford
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