Endorsement: Munger for Illinois comptroller

Appointed to the position of comptroller after the death of Judy Baar Topinka, Republican Leslie Munger now must come to the voters for permission to fill out the remaining two years of Topinka's term. She has earned the right to continue.

No comptroller could welcome the job that Munger was handed, essentially equivalent to giving someone a pauper's bank account and demanding she use it to pay the bills of a profligate legislature that's been outspending its income for decades. Yet, Munger has soldiered on, even incurring the wrath of lawmakers and the state's top lawyer by trying to withhold the pay of legislators on the entirely correct philosophy that people who don't do their jobs should be last in line to get paid. The courts blocked that attempt, but Munger still pressed on, crisscrossing the state, sometimes even standing up to the governor who appointed her, to try to budge unmoving leaders out of their entrenchments and toward a state budget.

Lawmakers and the governor have yet to complete their jobs and produce a real budget, but Munger is more than doing hers.

Not that she isn't faced with an able opponent. Chicago Democrat Susana Mendoza is an independent and whipsmart firebrand, a former legislator who has worked hard to clean up a mess in the Chicago city clerk's office that rivals that handed the comptroller by the Illinois legislature. She certainly is up to the task.

But Munger has the momentum and the direct experience behind her. She should get the chance to finish the work she started.

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