Wednesday, February 24, 2010
2010 IL-Sen: A True Toss-Up
2/24/10 Electionology Rolling Average
Mark Kirk (R) 41%
Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%
The Illinois primaries are the first in the country, held in February. Kirk walked away in a landslide victory for the Republican nomination, despite initial worries about a challenge from the right. Giannoulias, on the Democratic side, was able to squeak out a 5-point victory, thanks to the early date of the primaries. (Challenger Hoffman was surging in the week before election, and theoretically, could have surpassed Giannoulias had the primary been held later)
Alexi Giannoulias is surrounded by scandals from his time working for his father's bank. This is an instant disadvantage that is somewhat offset by the Democratic partisan makeup of the state and the city of Chicago's impact on statewide political races. However, in addition to the candidate's corruption issues, there may be a voter backlash against the Democrats as a whole. This seat, held formerly by President Obama, was being auctioned off to the highest bidder by disgraced former Governor Blagojevich. Current appointed Senator Burris was ultimately seated by said governor.
As a moderate, Republican Mark Kirk has already proven victorious in his own House district, which leans Democrat. A national wave benefiting the Republicans may ultimately pave the way for victory. Kirk will also need to depend on rural/suburban votes outside of Chicago (where most of the Republican base resides) to ultimately prevail, but internals show that he is performing well among Independents (winning 2 to 1).