Roosevelt University Professor of Political Science Paul Green, who is one of the most respected names in Chicago/Illinois political analysis, told USA Today that Congressman Mark Kirk has an "excellent chance" of winning the race for U.S. Senate. The seat is currently held by Blagojevich-appointee Roland Burris, but was held before that by now-President Barack Obama.
As the article correctly points out, this race here in Illinois is important on its own, but is also part of a much bigger picture as the Republicans try to reassert their relevance on a national level, after proving unable to be much of a roadblock to Obama's agenda items, such as nationalizing health care.
This week's back-to-back retirements by two senior Senate Democrats puts the focus on one of the key questions of this election year: Will Democrats be able to maintain the overwhelming majority that has enabled them to push President Obama's agenda through the Senate, or will Republicans be able to whittle it down?
The Democrats' 60-to-40 voting edge has hampered the GOP's ability to slow legislation and broker the kind of bipartisan deals that are normally required for bills to pass in the Senate.
At the moment, Democrats face an uphill battle to maintain their dominance. Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, rates the races for eight Democratic Senate seats as competitive, compared with five for Republicans. It's the first time since 2004, Duffy says, that the political ratings favor the GOP.
As we have noted before, things are looking good for Kirk going into the early February primary (wonder if we'll have 8 inches of snow on election day like we're supposed to have today). Let's keep the momentum going!