The battle for Barack Obama's recently-vacated Illinois Senate seat
has turned mean fast. Tuesday's primaries yielded Democratic candidate
Alexi Giannoulias and Republican candidate Mark Kirk. Giannoulias is a
33-years-young first-term State Treasurer with experience working for
his family's bank. Kirk has represented Chicago's northern suburbs in
the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001. It's only the first day
on their long journey to the November election, but both, especially
Giannoulias, are already coming under attack.
- Giannoulias Is Like Tony Soprano The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza reports on the GOP-led charge. "The National Republican Senatorial Committee moved quickly to define
Giannoulias as part of a corrupt, broken political machine with the
release of a web video
detailing his alleged ties to the mafia." Cillizza adds, "Giannoulias'
family bank -- Broadway Bank -- proved to be a problem for
the frontrunner as [primary opponent] Hoffman used some of the negative
surrounding it to cast Giannoulias as a corrupt insider."
'Bankers Don't Need Another Vote In The Senate' The Chicago Tribune reminds us:
Those were the words of President Obama in Massachusetts, campaigning
against banker-supported Republican Scott Brown. The Tribune writes,
"We'd wager a pair of Obama's mom-jeans that Republican candidate Mark
Kirk will give you more than a few viewings of the president declaring
that, yes, bankers don't need another vote in the Senate."
- Giannoulias Connected to Rezko Commentary's Jennifer Rubin highlights
an obscure connection between Giannoulias and Tony Rezko, the disgraced
banker convicted of fraud. While Giannoulias was working at his
family's bank, it made several loans to Rezko. Rubin writes, "You
almost wonder whether Karl Rove has infiltrated the Democratic
Party. How else to explain how the Democrats could nominate to replace
Roland Burris, the senator from Blagojevich, the banker for Tony Rezko?"
- Giannoulias Connected to Obama Conservative blogger Tim Mak thinks
this will be a "hindrance". Obama's "approval rating in Illinois has
fallen, much like in the rest of the country. An August poll put
Obama at only 59% approval, and that was before five months of a
still-grumbling economy, and the collapse of healthcare legislation. As
such, if Kirk chooses to take this path, an anti-Obama message
could connect him to the independents that he needs to pull off a
victory à la Scott Brown."
- Giannoulias Is A Democrat So charges RNC Shair Michael Steele. "Whether it's the Senate seat once held by President
Obama, or the governorship, or other seats across the state, voters are
clearly tired of the arrogance and corruption in government and are
ready to make the change they want," he tells reporters. "With its
unemployment rate among the worst in the nation, Illinois can no longer
afford the binge spending and failed leadership of entrenched Democrats."
- Kirk's Rightward Flip-Flops Huffington Post's Steve Sheffey slams,
"he's manufactured a moderate image that belies his commitment to a
right-wing Republican agenda and to leaders who support that agenda--an
agenda sometimes at odds with Kirk's rhetoric and the positions that
Kirk claims to support." Sheffey writes that Kirk has "reversed
himself," adopting more conservative policies, on abortion, gay rights,
cap and trade, Guantanamo, and Sarah Palin.
- Kirk Is a Fake Republican RedState's Leon Wolf disowns
the GOP candidate for his pro-choice stance and his vote in favor of
cap-and-trade. "[I]f you (like me) simply can't bring yourself to root
for Kirk, or even
to spend your energy kicking Giannoulias like the walking pinata that
he is, spend your energy instead working to help someone you can
support (like Rubio or Toomey) elected."
- Why Giannoulias Under More Attacks Congressional Quarterly's Shira Toeplitz explains,
"Giannoulias had a tougher primary than Kirk, so voters didn't hear as
many negatives about the eventual Republican winner as they did about
the Democrat." It would also stand to reason that the GOP can now coopt
the attacks developed by Giannoulias's primary opponents.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.