In 2002, I lobbied hard for Illinois Democrats to choose Paul Vallas as their gubernatorial candidate. He had done a great job as superintendent of Chicago schools and wasn't a sleazebag, as his opponent, Rod Blagojevich was. Unfortunately, the downstaters inexplicably went with Blago, he scored a narrow primary victory and he went on to be elected governor.
A moderate who makes decisions based on candidates, policies and platforms -- not parties -- I then voted for Republican Jim Ryan, the eventual loser.
Four years -- and several Blago scandals and scams later -- I voted for Republican Judy Baar Topinka even though there was little evidence the state treasurer would be a good governor. I simply couldn't vote for Blago. Alas, Blago outspent Topinka 4-to-1 and won an 11 percent victory.
The rest is history. As I write this, a jury is trying to decide if it should convict Blago on multiple corruption charges. He was a terrible governor and an embarrassment to the state -- albeit a godsend to standup comedians.
Looking back, I consider my decisions regarding his gubernatorial elections to be my best as a voter.