It's primary election day in Illinois, and we have a dusting of snow in Chicago -- at least on the far north side where Team America HQ is. Not too cold for February, though, so it's nothing that should not keep people from the polls. But everyone seems to be predicting a low turnout since the GA never moved the primary back to something rational after they jiggered it to benefit Barack Obama's presidential bid (which they weren't even ashamed about).
The election in Illinois is getting a lot of national attention thanks in part to the fact that it's the first primary of 2010, and everyone is looking for a clue as to how the 2010 midterm elections are going to pan out, and what that may mean to the Dems stranglehold on power in Washington. Especially the U.S. Senate election, where people have now woken up to the fact that a likely win on the GOP side by the popular and experienced candidate Congressman Mark Kirk, the White House top aides are panicking that the story going into November 2010 is that Barack Obama's 'old seat' is going to be lost to the GOP for the first time in 12 years.
The Hill reported:
Should [Democrat Alexi] Giannoulias hang on for the win, observers will look closely at his margin of victory for hints as to how strong a general-election candidate he will be against the presumptive GOP nominee, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). The good news for Giannoulias is that even if he doesn’t come out of Tuesday looking strong, he has nine months to put together the kind of campaign Democrats hoped for from the young former basketball buddy of President Barack Obama. The bad news is, he’s got plenty more of what’s happened in the past week ahead of him.
Kirk is a heavy favorite on the GOP side, despite some early questions about just how much the GOP base would support someone with a centrist record in the House. Developer Patrick Hughes hasn’t been able to put together the kind of funds needed to give Kirk a real scare, and a crowded field should benefit the congressman on Tuesday. Kirk doesn’t appear terribly concerned with the primary, as he had $3.2 million in unspent campaign funds in the bank as of Jan. 13.
Politico had this to say:
For all the talk about a challenge from the right to Rep. Mark Kirk’s Republican primary campaign, there’s little doubt this morning about who the GOP’s Senate nominee will be. With Kirk polling close to 50 percent, challenger Patrick Hughes lagging 30-plus points behind him and no other opponent even really registering, all the Senate action this evening is on the Democratic side.
But boy, is there action there. Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias remains the favorite to run for the seat left vacant by the president’s 2008 election, but former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman has been closing hard. Giannoulias has taken a beating from state and national media – and from Hoffman – over his family bank’s recent financial troubles, and Republicans feel confident of their general-election odds against a candidate tarnished both by his record as state treasurer and by his association with a failed financial institution. One sample attack, courtesy of the Hoffman campaign’s ads: Giannoulias “was chief loan officer when his family’s bank gave a million dollars to Blagojevich crony and convicted felon Tony Rezko, then let Rezko bounce a half million dollars in checks.
Kirk is already taking a page out of the playbook of fellow moderate and Senator-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and is resisting attempts by the media to label this the "Obama" seat. It's the people's seat, stupid.
So with that, here are some morning thoughts on some key races (key to me, anyway):
U.S. Senate: Mark Kirk wallops the GOP competition. If Hughes breaks 20%, I will be surprised. Alexi wins but not by much and excitement will build as we begin to realize just how weak a candidate he will be against Mark Kirk in November. But that won't stop the Dems from throwing everything they have against us.
Governor/Guv Lite: I think McKenna will squeak out a small plurality if his "no taxes" message resonates. Murphy will win as well, and may well do better than McKenna. If not McKenna, then Ryan based on his name ID, followed somewhere (not too far behind) by Dillard. The rest split the "fringe" vote (they hate that term). Dem side, Quinn by only a little. Guv Lite, who knows. Art Turner? If it's Terry Link, at least we would have the prospect of getting him out of Lake County.
10th District Congress: Beth Coulson will win, Bob Dold will be a respectable close second, with Dick Green coming in third. If Friedman's lucky, he'll tie Green. We have endorsed Coulson, but whoever wins, we'll be behind the GOP nominee 100% and we look forward to a great race against the Dem nominee, which will be either Dan Seals or Julie Hamos. That one is just too close to call.
59th State Rep. District: The HGOPs have been pushing candidate and Vernon Hills Trustee Cindy Hebda for all they are worth, but I still think attorney Dan Sugrue, whom we have endorsed, will pull it out. Again, we are excited about this race and we'll be backing the winner 100%. It represents a definite pick-up opportunity for the Republicans. If Elliot Harstein, Buffalo Grove mayor, beats appointed incumbent Carol Sente, all bets are off.
62nd State Rep. Dist: Sandy Cole is fending off a challenge from ideologue Paul Mitchell. Should be no problem here for Cole to hang on.
I didn't even realize until the other day that JoAnne Osmond up in the 61st District even had a primary opponent, so no concerns here.
Appellate Justices Mary Schostok and Mary Ann Jorgensen will sail to easy victory.
I look forward to making the rounds of the election night parties -- hope to see many of you out there, and go vote!