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Inside Report (3)

Access to a ''bully pulpit'' may hinge on one undecided governor's race.

Out Illinois way, GOP incumbent Gov. Jim Thompson insists his 5,000-vote lead over Adlai Stevenson III is a legitimate win. Why so insistent? Aside from a desire for a Springfield address for the next four years, it could be he's got his eye on the chairmanship of the National Governors' Association next year. His Republican colleagues chose him for the job this week at their meeting in Kansas City.

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The NGA post could prove a valuable forum for Thompson, who's shown an interest in residing in a big white house in a capital back East.