It's clearly way too early to look ahead to the November 2010 general election for U.S. Senate here in Illinois, but given the Q3 fundraising results claimed by the two front-runner candidates, GOP contender Congressman Mark Kirk ($1.6 million), and Democrat State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias ($1.1 million), it's sure tempting... and many would agree that it seems for now, at least, that these two gentlemen are the men to beat on their respective sides of the aisle.
Rich Miller over at Cap Fax played a little defense for Alexi recently and noted that the difference between Kirk's Q3 numbers and Alexi's could be attributed solely to a $500,000 fundraiser headlined by former presidential candidate John McCain this past quarter... but, so what? Alexi would have no doubt taken advantage of such an opportunity if he could... and whether Obama eventually comes out in support of Alexi remains to be seen. While Obama has gotten his hands messy in other primaries in other states, now that Lisa Madigan is off the table as a Senate candidate, the White House seems to be staying out of this, for now.
What will be interesting is if Alexi gets beaten up by former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman (who raised $400,000 and said he'd loan himself another $500,000) in the primary on ethical issues, but manages to still pull off a primary win, will Alexi be damaged enough that Barack Obama stays away?
As to other contenders, no numbers from Cheryl ROBINSON Jackson on the Dem side, but some other guy named Jacob Meister says he put $1 million into his campaign. Rich reports on this here.
On the GOP side, none of Kirk's other opponents have reported any Q3 numbers, which can't bode well for them. As much as I hate to admit reading Andy Martin's stuff, he points out that GOP hopeful Pat Hughes stated early on that he had "commitments" for $400,000, and Martin suggests that if Hughes' Q3 report shows anything less, then Hughes... well, you can read for yourself.
Given the vast sums of money that this race will consume, and given the millions in cash that the front runners that Kirk ($2.3 million) and Giannoulias ($2.4 million) have at the ready, any candidate on either side that isn't approaching at least half a mil of cash on hand simply doesn't have a prayer.
UPDATED: The Hill reported this afternoon that GOP contender Patrick Hughes raised only $380,000 for Q3 (and has only $340K cash on hand). And, apparently a majority of that $380K was self-financed. So much for the $400,000 in commitments that Hughes claimed when he entered the race.
Fork time for Hughes?
UPDATED x2 10/8/09 12:00 p.m.: Someone told me that Roll Call is reporting that 10th District GOP hopeful and wealthy businessman Dick Green raised $295,000 this quarter (with 266K cash on hand) but that $220,000 of the Q3 total was self-funded.
So far, no word on Q3 results from Beth Coulson or Bill Cadigan.
UPDATED x3 1:30 p.m.: The Tribune's Rick Pearson is reporting that Pat Hughes gave himself $250,000 out of the $380,000 he reported raising in Q3, which means that he raised only $130,000 from supporters. Pearson notes in the article that Hughes announced earlier that he had $400,000 in pledged support, but no indication in the article as to why that support did not materialize (at least not yet).