Denny the Meatpuppet tells Tim Russert how Allan Keyes wound up as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois:
REP. HASTERT: I spent five weeks trying to find good people, everywhere from a good state senator that we had by the name of Steve Rauschenberger, who I thought he could have…
MR. RUSSERT: But you’re drafting someone from another state.
REP. HASTERT: But wait. Wait. Well, let me go down through the process. And, you know, he didn’t have enough money. I talked to Mike Ditka, and I decided maybe he made a good decision. I talked to a guy name Gary Fenzig, who was a great star, Harvard-Yale, star for the Chicago Bears. He couldn’t. And the problem in Illinois, you’ve got to have $10 million to run; $6 million or $7 million of that has to be done for name I.D. I got down last week to interviewing a 70-year-old guy, who was a great farm broadcaster in Illinois. He decided since his health problems–he couldn’t do it. You know, we were down–we needed to find somebody to run, somebody who wanted to run. And, you know, Alan Keyes wants to run, and I hope he’s a good candidate.
MR. RUSSERT: But it gives the impression that Barack Obama, a black state senator from Illinois, Democrat, you went to Maryland to find a black to run against the Democratic black.
REP. HASTERT: Well, I tell you what, I was out of town when that happened. That–sure. But I went five levels. I’ve been working for five weeks trying to find a candidate. Here we are.
Wait a minute. Shouldn’t Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist be involved in this decision? How did a failed wrestling coach get so much power within the GOP?
Keyes still owes $524,169 from his two presidential bids, according to federal elections records. He also owes $7,481 in unpaid state income taxes in his home state of Maryland, according to court records.