16 November, 2009

The Illinois Senate Race

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Democrats are starting to get nervous about their ability to hold on to the Senate seat currently occupied by Roland Burris (D-Blagojevich).

Alexi Giannoulias is the main front runner (and the one I expect to win the nomination), but he has political vulnerabilities at a time when voters are growing a little wary of the party in power. Also, he frankly hasn't really fired up his base (though the Greek community will undoubtedly come out in full support for him), something that a candidate needs even a year out from the general election if they hope to build any kind of momentum. The only thing going for him at this moment is that his challengers are even less organized. Nevertheless, I expect the race to tighten in the coming weeks as some potential big endorsements come the way of his challengers, which consequently means he will have to dig much deeper into his campaign chest than any candidate in the race -- Republican or Democrat. A major potential liability, come the general election.

Mark Kirk, on the other hand, pretty much has his nomination secure. His nearest challenger is polling in the single digits. What's more, he already has more money in his champaign chest than any other candidate in the race, and that's without any significant opposition. For him, his campaign and its associated fund raising is essentially already in General Election campaign mode. Mark Kirk has a lot of name recognition in this state, nearly all of it positive. Unless there is a skeleton in Kirk's closet that no one is aware of (which seems unlikely, given Northshore politics; if there were one, it would have come out by now), I find it very unlikely that Giannoulias will be able to match Kirk.

I'm going to watch this race carefully, so expect some long winded discussions about it over the next year. First hurdle is going to be the Illinois Primary, which this year will be held on February 2, 2010. That's not that far away, barely 2 1/2 months.

No comments: