Dems May Lose Obama's Old Senate Seat

Illinois field isn't scaring GOP frontrunner Mark Kirk
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2009 10:00 AM CST
Dems May Lose Obama's Old Senate Seat
US Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., announces his candidacy for the Senate.   (AP Photo)

The Democratic field for President Obama’s old Illinois Senate seat is anemic enough to make a GOP win a real possibility, Lynn Sweet writes. The candidates—only one of whom has run for office, ever—haven’t phased the Republican frontrunner, Rep. Mark Kirk. The statewide Dem establishment seems apathetic about the result, and the national party was unable to convince AG Lisa Madigan to run. The primary is February 2, where Alexi Giannoulias will face off against a group of ragtag opponents.

Giannoulias, who has $2.4 million in his coffers, is the clear favorite in a race that includes a former Rod Blagojevich spokeswoman, a former Chicago police official, and an unknown but well-to-do lawyer. But he could face criticism in the primary or general election because of his familial ties to a bank involved in the Tony Rezko scandal, Sweet writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. Kirk has $2.3 million, well outpacing a conservative rival for the GOP nod. (More Illinois stories.)

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