Looks like all the attention Congressman Mark Kirk has paid to downstate towns during the past few months of campaigning are beginning to pay off: after a number of campaign stops and the creation of a "Quincy Agenda," the Quincy Herald-Whig has endorsed Kirk over his Democratic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias:
Kirk understands that putting people back to work is the nation's top priority at this time, and that fiscal discipline is critical to sustaining a vibrant economy long term. He has huddled with community leaders throughout the state to learn of their priorities for rebuilding and revitalizing regional economies, and has committed to championing those efforts. [snip]
A fiscal conservative, Kirk vows to "spend less, tax less and borrow less." He wants to "repeal and replace" the health care bill, which he believes is creating too many long-term financial constraints for medical facilities such as Blessing Hospital.
We're getting the very strong impression that Giannoulias is going to have a hard time playing downstate, as most Illinoisans have clued in that Alexi is a stereotypical Chicago street politician whose number one priority will be to support the failed policies of the Obama administration. For people who are standing in unemployment lines, the last thing they want to hear is how strongly a guy like Alexi is going to march in lockstep with Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin, while taxes go up and out-of-control government spending, takeovers and regulations continue. Unlike the liberal Chicago Sun-Times, which gushed over 34-year-old Alexi despite his lack of accomplishment and tainted personal banking record, the Herald-Whig gets it:
Giannoulias is completing his first term as Illinois treasurer, his only experience in public office. He has no legislative record on which to draw, and has yet to articulate a thorough understanding of the needs of downstate Illinois. His decidedly liberal agenda is out of step with most Illinoisans.
So there ya have it. This race is now officially about whether the Democratic Machine in Chicago can turn out enough votes under the whip-crack of Obama, Durbin, and the rest, to counter the rest of the state, where the priority is getting people back to work, and government back under control. My money is on the people, not the Machine.
Adding... I had to drive out to federal district court in Rockford on Friday and I didn't see even ONE Alexi sign the entire time. Plenty of Kirk signs, TONS of Manzullo signs and lots of local Republicans. Not a one for Alexi.