2010 Illinois Senate Race – Democratic Incumbent
(D) Alexi Giannoulias – 345,265 (39%)
David Hoffman -298,845 (34%)
Cheryl Robinson Jackson – 174,433 (20%)
Robert Marshall -50,725 (6%)
Jacob Meister – 16,000 (2%)
(R) Mark Kirk – 416,853 (57%)
Patrick Hughes 141,751 (19%)
Don Lowery 65,771 (9%)
Kathleen Thomas 53,673 (7%)
Andy Martin 37,201 (5%)
John Arrington 20,888 (3%)
When President Barack Obama left this seat to move to Washington, few could imagine the turmoil that it would cause. Although Illinois does have a history of close elections, recently it has trended towards Democrats and few thought that this seat would be in play in 2010.
Pundits were wrong. First came the scandal that Governor Rod Blagojevich was actively seeking bribes from whomever he appointed to the seat. Caught by prosecutors, indicted for his crime, Blagojevich shocked the country yet again by appointing Roland Burris, formerly Illinois’ Comptroller and Attorney General. Many saw Burris as tainted by the corruption scandal and while he has wavered on the subject, eventually Burris decided not to run for election in 2010.
However, this stint as a senator will undoubtedly appear on Burris’ already-created garish mausoleum already decorated with his life achievements.
Both parties hope that their candidates can avoid being tainted by Illinois politics of late. Both men, Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias come from another elected office and it will be fascinating to see how this race plays out.
Many see Alexi Giannoulias, currently Illinois’ treasurer, as the bright young star of the Democratic party and the best chance to keep this seat in his party’s hands. Despite having his nearest opponent come within 5 percent of winning the primary, it never seemed in doubt that he would win the first round. Giannoulias was first elected Treasurer at the age of 30 and quickly enacted tough ethics rules designed to attack the stereotype of Illinois politics. To learn more about his campaign, click here.
Recently, this race has taken a sour turn for the Democrat. His family-owned bank, which he worked for up until being elected Treasurer four years ago, has failed and was seized by government regulators after it had made many investments in real-estate that collapsed. There is also much to be made of the dealings that the bank had with mob figures and extremely risky loans. Giannoulias is hoping to right the ship and steer clear of this mess, largely which did not exist when he left the bank. He is up with an ad this week about it here.
In the quest to take back the US Senate, many will have their eyes on how Republicans fair in Illinois to judge the party’s potential. Long thought to be the hands-down favorite for the nomination, Congressman Mark Kirk has been burnishing his conservative credentials as the number of candidates in the primary grows. Known as a moderate who has won fierce and close elections in the past, Kirk has had a varied career including time in the Navy, working for the World Bank, the State Department under both President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, and since 2000, as a congressman in the north suburbs of Chicago. To read more, click here.