Monday, May 31, 2010

Let's Remember Why They Sacrificed On Memorial Day

I was looking around for a quote upon which to focus our annual Memorial Day message, and I found something that I think is particularly relevant in light of the dangers we face in the world today:

"American Soldiers do not fight because they hate what is in front of them, but because they love what is behind them."

Today as you go about enjoying the last day of your three-day weekend, take some time to pause and consider where we would be if it was not for the sacrifice of all the brave men and women who have given up their lives in the service of our country. And then, for good measure, consider the above quote, and why they did it, and how that contrasts with the motivation of those that threaten us today.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mark Kirk Defends His Military Record from Alexi Giannoulias, Who Served Up Jump Shots While Kirk Served

It really takes a lot of chutzpah to try to call into question a vet's military record on Memorial Day Weekend, when you yourself never served a day. Hopefully this disgraceful attack on Kirk will simply backfire on Alexi and highlight the fact that Alexi was playing basketball in Greece while Kirk was serving Navy intelligence.

From the Kirk for Senate campaign:

My Navy Service Official Record Speaks for Itself

Dear Friend:

I was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy Reserve in 1989. I have now served 21 years. For the last 10 years, as a Member of Congress, I served without pay because I love the Navy, her duty, honor, country. In uniform, I served during conflicts with Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Bosnia. I am proud of my service – it is the honor of my life to work with Americans who keep America safe.

Last week, I found that I misidentified a military award and corrected my biography. According to the Washington Post, their reporter worked with Alexi Giannoulias' campaign to write a story that turned out to be imprecise about the title of an award included in that biography.

The error was discovered last week by my staff. Going through my Fitness Reports for 1999/2000, we recognized that referring to an award as “Intelligence Officer of the Year” was not precise – so we corrected my biography with the official name of a very distinguished award that I am honored to have received.

My corrected biography accurately shows I received the United States Navy Rufus L. Taylor Intelligence Award – as the leader of an ad-hoc intelligence effort supporting four EA-6B Prowler electronic attack squadrons as part of Operation Allied Force – instead of Intelligence Officer of the Year. I accepted the Taylor Intelligence Award (named after the head of navy intelligence in World War II) as the leader of an intelligence section that I assembled and led. There is no hierarchy between these awards as the Taylor Intelligence Award is equally distinguished.

Watch the Kirk Campaign’s Response to Alexi Giannoulias’ Desperate Attack

I knew Alexi Giannoulias would focus on a negative campaign – in fact, he and his consultants announced that in the New York Times. I corrected the record, but I will not let my 21 years of service in uniform be denigrated by Alexi Giannoulias, a man who chose not to serve.

Frankly, I thought it took some nerve when he ran a television ad claiming credit for what amounted to tens of millions in investment losses from the college savings of thousands of working families under Illinois Bright Start – or to follow it up with a second ad looking for sympathy after so many of his decisions ran his bank into the ground, costing the FDIC $394 million. But coming after my 21-year Navy service record just might top those.

In November, Illinois voters have a choice – so let us look at my opponent’s record – here it is. Because of that record he has made a strategic decision to attack my military service record. I understand politics is a tough business – but this attack orchestrated by Alexi Giannoulias is a disgrace.

My official Navy records speak for themselves – read them here.

Our state and nation face serious problems - and having a veteran's military record challenged by a politician who never served and was anointed by the media as a "mob banker" is absurd.

I look forward to the contest and laying out the choice. If Alexi wants to make this race about my military record, I'm happy to have the debate. Thank you for your continued support.

Very truly yours,

Mark Kirk

Member of Congress

Friday, May 28, 2010

Condolences to Congressman Mark Kirk on the Passing of His Stepfather

Our condolences and prayers to out to Congressman Mark Kirk and his mom Judy on the passing of his stepfather, Robert Reeve.

Here's an excerpt from a nice obit in the Sun-Times:

Robert Chamberlain Reeve spent his career as a printing executive, but in recent years he became better known as a volunteer and booster for his stepson -- U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, the North Shore Republican who's running for the U.S. Senate.

"My stepfather, Robert, competed with my mother to be my No. 1 supporter," Kirk said. "He was such a strong Republican that occasionally I had to remind him that many Democrats were OK -- including my mom."

Mr. Reeve died Sunday at his Evanston home, surrounded by his family, after a long battle with emphysema. He was 78.

Mr. Reeve loved to argue politics with anyone.

"He was just fascinated by it -- he loved reading about it," said his wife, Judy.

"He was quite a knowledgeable guy," said Doug Diggs, a longtime friend.

Get Ready for Sheriff Mark Curran's Annual Golf Outing

As we mentioned yesterday, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran will hold his always well-attended annual golf outing next Friday, June 4th, at the Antioch Golf Course, 40150 North Route 59, Antioch, IL 60002. The course's website is and the phone number is 847-395-3004. To RSVP contact Dan Venturi at

You can download the official brochure here.

I'm a boater, not a golfer, so I will see everyone for cocktails at 5:30 p.m.!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tea Party Group Rises In Libertyville

A newly-formed Lake County "tea party" group has pulled a permit for a gathering in Libertyville on July 5th, which will have "respectful protest signs and people waving flags" said tea party chairman Lennie Jarratt, as quoted in today's Daily Herald. The News-Sun also has an article on the event, but it's not nearly as informative as the Herald's.

As with any political event (or group) that seems to appear on the scene rather abruptly, I always look to see who's involved, in order to understand who's behind something like this, and what their agenda might be. The DH article explains that Chairman Lennie Jarratt is a website designer from Round Lake Beach. I don't know Jarratt, but I do know two others mentioned in the article, Peter Karlovics, who has long been involved in local Republican politics and is a stand-up guy, and Paul Mitchell, who among other things runs the Thoughts of a Regular Guy blog and lost the GOP primary to State Rep. Sandy Cole in the 62nd Legislative District. Mitchell, as I recall, proved himself rather thin-skinned once when I called him an "ideologue." I guess you can look at his views on his website and decide for yourself.

In any case, I find this all interesting as to local political dynamics, as I never expected any serious tea party groups to get much traction in Lake County, as the local conservatives already had their own group, the Republican Assembly of Lake County. I had always thought to myself that the RALC would be resistant to any tea party groups encroaching on their turf, so we will have to see how this will all play out. Now that the Republican Central Committee has arguably taken on a more conservative bent as well, given the election of Bob Cook of Wauconda as the new County Chairman, it will be interesting to see if this new tea party group somehow integrates into the current structure or stays outside it.

You can check out the group's Facebook event page here. Looks like a lot of no-shows for the event from the invite list, but given the chosen date is July 5th, it might be a bad day with many folks planning to be out of town. They also have a website.

It should be noted that the Lake County Tea Party group maintains that it is strictly non-partisan, as do many or most of the tea party groups nationally. Whether the group can attract many independents or Democrats will also remain to be seen.

By and large, I am not unsympathetic to the basic tea party message that we have been overtaxed by a government that has simply gone out of control with spending money we don't have. And tea party groups are quick to point out that, even though debt has really spiraled out of control under Obama, it did not start with him, and those of us involved with the GOP bear some blame for not forcing our representatives in Congress to stick to their supposed fiscal conservative ideals under Bush II, where rampant spending was also evident. I have, however, been generally disappointed with the quality of many tea party candidates (without naming any names) that seem to have been supported by these groups -- although there is a big difference in my mind between people who have run for office as a "tea party" candidate, and those who are Republicans who are just trying to reach out to a potentially influential and active segment of the electorate.

I think I will attend the July 5th event to see what's going on. The one announced elected official who will be attending so far is my friend Sheriff Mark Curran, who enjoys support from almost everyone in the GOP, as far as I can tell. He will definitely need all the support he can get this November, since the Dems are coming after him in vengeance for switching parties. And, by the way, his golf outing is next Friday in Antioch, so that will also be a great event. See y'all there.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sun Times: Mark Kirk is Republicans' "Trump Card" In November

Today Sun-Times left-leaning columnist Laura Washington speculates that Congressman Mark Kirk will beat State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in the U.S. Senate race here in Illinois this fall:

Right here at home, the Republican Party has a big trump card at hand. The Illinois Senate race will be their favorite touchstone of this election cycle. In November, the Land of Lincoln will elect the next occupant of Obama's U.S. Senate seat. The Republicans will surely nationalize this race, and they've got their eyes on the prize.

I fear that state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee, lacks the chops to prevail over U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk.

Giannoulias is a banker without a bank, a politician tainted by scandal. He's still going steady in the polls, but there's a monstrous bull's-eye on the back of that tailored suit, and a Republican trump card on his forehead.

Alexi a "banker without a bank..." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

That made my whole morning, especially coming from a liberal columnist like Washington.

Meanwhile, Politico is reporting that Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., might even support Kirk over Alexi:

Now, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who did not endorse anyone in the Democratic primary, is flirting with the idea of backing Republican nominee Mark Kirk in the general election.

“I like Alexi Giannoulias, but I have great respect for Mark Kirk and his service to the people of Illinois,” Jackson told POLITICO.

Jackson and Kirk work together on the House Appropriations Committee, on which both are senior members of the subcommittee that provides foreign aid.

It’s exceedingly rare for a lawmaker of one party to endorse a colleague of the other party — particularly within the same state — meaning Jackson lending his name to Kirk would be a bit of a shock to the political system and a blow to Giannoulias’s campaign.

Now my morning is even brighter... On the other hand, the folks over at Illinois Review, who can't see past their own ideology, think this is a bad thing. Who knows, maybe if JJJ gets caught up in the Blago scandal big-time, maybe a shout-out from JJJ isn't something Kirk should encourage (!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

10th District GOP Congressional Candidate Bob Dold Announces Trip to Middle East

From the Dold for Congress campaign- looks like Bob is headed to Israel. I think it's notable that Bob has only been a candidate for a relatively short period and is on his way to Israel; Dan Seals has been campaigning for this position for five years or more, and has only been to Israel once, as far as I know.

Dold Announces Trip to Middle East

Will Focus on the U.S.-Israeli Security and Economic Relationships

Winnetka, IL- Today, 10th District Congressional candidate Robert Dold announced that he is traveling to Israel next week to meet with Israeli government and military officials. Dold will get a first-hand look at several key security areas.

“I look forward to being in Israel at such a critical time in the U.S.-Israel relationship. Our nation’s primary national security threat stems from the tenuous situation in the Middle East. I believe the best way to understand the complex political and cultural dynamics in the country is to evaluate the facts on the ground,” said Dold.

“I strongly believe we must embrace our key ally and partner, Israel, in our mutual fight against a nuclear Iran and the terrorism exported from this region,” Dold continued.

Dold’s visit will also focus on the rapidly expanding business relationships between the United States and Israel, including a private meeting with Saul Singer--the co-author of the acclaimed book “Start-Up Nation,” which analyzes the business and entrepreneurial environment in Israel today.

Dold will be joined on the trip by a group of pro-Israel supporters from the district, and he will be visiting the Armenian Church and Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Will President Obama Show Alexi the Love... Like He's Doing For Arlen Specter (Not) [PLUS... Roll Call Update - Is it Time to Shove Alexi Aside?]

Politico has a very interesting article about the shaky re-election prospects of Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who flipped from being a Republican to a Democrat... and who, at the time was promised full support from President Obama:

President Barack Obama says he loves Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) — just not quite enough to hazard an 11th-hour political trip to Pennsylvania for an ally of convenience increasingly viewed as unlikely to win.

Just last year, the White House was crowing about Specter’s conversion to the Democratic Party, and Obama pledged, “He will have my full support. . .”

Tuesday’s primary is telling a different story: Once thought to be an unalloyed asset for most any Democratic candidate, Obama’s personal involvement is no longer guaranteed – or guaranteed to succeed.

Well, well. Arlen Specter's suddenly long-shot candidacy is now anathema to Obama, who is showing only the meagerest interest in giving props to Specter... as Politco reports, limited to the use of Obama's image in an ad campaign and one weekend conference call with black clergy in Pennsylvania. (Interestingly, Fox News has an article up generally in line with Politico's premise and observations)

Could this be the writing on the wall for Alexi Giannoulias?

As we noted earlier, while Obama gave Alexi a hug (both literally and in his speech) in Obama's most recent Illinois appearance, he could easily have done more, and Alexi's campaign chairman Dick Durbin has apparently not gotten much traction with the White House to parachute in and save Alexi's moribund campaign.

Alexi likes to point out that Obama is still quite a bit more popular here in his adopted home state than in some other states where Obama has been fairly ineffective in helping Dems to win elections, especially where Obama comes in at the last minute.

Maybe this ought to be a lesson to the Giannoulias campaign... if you have any prayer of getting Obama to come in for you, maybe you ought to be making that plea right now, and not saving whatever you think you are going to get for the 'fourth quarter' of the game. At this rate, you might not make it....

UPDATED 5/18/10 9:00 a.m.: Stuart Rothenberg wonders in Roll Call today about Giannoulias and whether the Dems will shove him aside. Rothernberg sets up blame to lay at the door of Obama if Alexi sputters miserably in November, as we all expect:

Even in a bad year for Democrats nationally, it seems odd that Republican prospects in the Illinois Senate race look so good.

Yes, the GOP got the candidate it wanted in Kirk, and the president’s numbers in the state have slipped from where they were. But Democrats would be in better shape if they didn’t have a nominee who was such damaged goods.

Illinois folks in and around the White House surely know that, and that’s why pressure is building for them to do something soon. If they don’t and Democrats lose the seat, it will be hard not to place a chunk of the blame at the front door of the White House

Desperate Giannoulias Releases Internal Poll Showing Tie With Kirk

If I were Alexi, I would have done the same thing, even though recent expensive media buys and constant polling has got to be costing his campaign big-time. A new internal poll released by the Giannoulias campaign shows him in a 44-44 tie with his opponent, Congressman Mark Kirk.

Given the tanking in external (and even internal) polling that Alexi Giannoulias has shown over the past several weeks, which all seem to indicate an increasing concern among Illinois voters over the issue of his family's failed Broadway Bank, Alexi wisely dipped into his campaign account and started an early media blitz to try to counter his slide in the polls before it becomes an irreversible death spiral. He really had no choice. The White House has been giving mixed signals, and there has been a marked lack of enthusiasm among Democrats, from what I can tell, about his candidacy. In a blue state like Illinois, which still (for reasons unknown) still thinks Obama is cool, even the suggestion that the Dem candidate for U.S. Senate ought to at least be thinking about dropping out of the race spells very bad things for such a candidate.

So, this really was Alexi's last chance to buy himself some more rope from the Dem base... and we, of course, hope it's enough rope that will hang the Dems, figuratively of course, come November.

You can almost hear the message Alexi is shouting out to his contributors and supporters... "Don't give up on me, I'm still alive!!!"

As we've said before, we WANT Alexi to stay in the race. It's good that Alexi is not giving up and, even though Mark Kirk can't take anything for granted, we like our chances this coming fall very much.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mark Kirk at the City Club: Restore Trust in Government (UPDATED)

UPDATED: Here is the full video of the Kirk City Club speech from (thanks to long-time commentor "foklaeaps" for the link):

Original Post:

In case you missed Mark Kirk at the sold-out luncheon at the City Club this past Monday, here is the video. If anyone is wavering over whether Mark Kirk or Alexi Giannoulias would be a better U.S. Senator, just watch this video, and wait until he starts talking about the dangers faced by the U.S. and the world from terrorism and rogue nations, and then the national debt crisis (which is now being seen in a new light given the problems in Greece and other European nations). [TA's note: after I watched the whole thing, I realized this video clip is only from the first half of the speech, which focuses more on corruption issues. Mark really gets warmed up later in the speech, so I will try to get that footage and post it ]

Mark's deep foreign policy and economic knowledge alone ought to be enough to convince you that we NEED Mark Kirk in the U.S. Senate.

As I said over at Cap Fax Blog yesterday in response to the "Question of the Day," Mark Kirk is to rocket science as Alexi is to model rockets. 'nuf 'sed.

h/t Illinois Review

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mark Kirk to Address Sold-Out Crowd at City Club of Chicago's Public Policy Luncheon (UPDATED)

5-Term Congressman Mark Kirk, who is running for the U.S. Senate, will address a sold-out crowd today at the City Club of Chicago's Public Policy Forum. Last time Kirk was at this event, speculation was rampant over whether Kirk might run for governor, U.S. Senate, or another term in Congress. Of course, we now know which direction Kirk decided to go, so he will no doubt be addressing many of the issues that are at the forefront of the U.S. Senate race, including jobs, the overall economy, Wall Street, perhaps Obama's U.S. Supreme Court nominee, and maybe even throw in a little about his opponent, Alexis Giannoulias, as Kirk has been known to do from time to time.

Alexi, on the other hand, has been desperate to change the subject from his family's failed Broadway Bank, and has been blitzing T.V. lately with ads to try to pump up his poll numbers (even the Daily Kos poll shows Kirk in the lead). This gambit has raised some eyebrows, as it is awfully early in the campaign to start spending a lot of money on expensive T.V. ads, especially when Alexi is at a serious fundraising disadvantage to Kirk. This is speculation among some quarters that if Alexi can't raise his positives and shake off the stigma of Broadway Bank, the White House (which has been sending mixed signals about its support for Alexi over the last month or two) may finally decide to lay down the law and recruit another candidate.

I will be at the City Club lunch and will try to snap a few pictures on my trusty Blackberry, but we'll see how they turn out. I've now managed to lose three new digital cameras in the last two years, so I'm done buying them. :-(

UPDATED: Wow, that was a great lunch. Mark Kirk really showcased his experience and knowledge of domestic and foreign issues.... but I will tell you that every time I hear him speak like this, I walk away feeling very, very concerned about the security of this country, financially and otherwise. There is simply no way we can like a buffoon like Alexi into the Senate when we desperately need someone of Kirk's qualifications. The Kirk campaign just sent around a summary of his speech so I don't have to (!):

Congressman, Navy Veteran Presents Vision to Create Jobs in Illinois, Master National Security Challenges Abroad and Restore Public Trust

Kirk: “Americans lack of faith in our own government. Honesty in office – that’s how we rebuild trust.”

CHICAGO – Congressman and Navy veteran Mark Kirk today outlined his vision for adding jobs and ending corruption in Illinois calling the “breakdown in public trust” one of the greatest challenges facing the nation.

“As your Senator, I will work to provide honest government to Illinois, helping to put our country back on track,” Congressman Kirk said. “As a fiscal conservative and social moderate, I will work to cut government spending, enact the small business bill of rights, support our troops and back the toughest federal prosecutors – fighting public corruption in Illinois and on Wall Street.”

Highlighting his record of independence from party leaders on issues like canceling Alaska’s Bridge to Nowhere, stopping BP's Lake Michigan pollution plan and backing stem cell research, Congressman Kirk said bipartisan, independent leadership is what the country needs to restore the public’s trust in government.

Citing Illinois’ aviation and rail networks as “natural advantages,” Congressman Kirk said backing the O’Hare Modernization Project and boosting support to scientists at Argonne, Fermilab and FutureGen were critical to reversing unemployment in Illinois. The congressman pledged to continue his work to pass a “Small Business Bill of Rights” to help small business owners create jobs and emphasized the need to end the $500 million “corruption tax” Illinois families are forced to pay every year.

In the long term, Congressman Kirk stressed two critical priorities for America’s economic security: innovation and cutting government overspending.

“To sell more exports, we must reward private sector innovation with the goal of attracting the next Google or Apple to Illinois,” Congressman Kirk said. “We also need to fix a growing weakness for Americans in science, math and engineering. We need to accelerate to protect our status as the world’s leading innovator.”

Citing the European debt crisis, Congressman Kirk noted the serious challenges looming for America’s economy.

“Without fiscal conservatives in Washington to get spending under control, our little recovery could quickly return to crisis,” Congressman Kirk said. “The Greek debt crisis sent a warning to America. We must stop spending money we do not have. If we do not, our children will be forced to ask, who will bailout the United States?”

The congressman, known for his national security expertise, closed his remarks touching on three critical foreign policy challenges facing the United States: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, drug cartel violence in Mexico and the rise of China as an economic and military power.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Congresswoman Melissa Bean A Possible Substitute for Alexi Giannoulias in U.S. Senate Race?

This blog has been a strong supporter of Alexi Giannoulias staying in the U.S. Senate race against Congressman Mark Kirk. After all, where else would we find a candidate as deeply flawed and vulnerable, and whose family bank failure so far is the defining issue of the campaign?

But today a Politico article looks at the issue from the perspective of the difficulties that Chicago politics are causing President Barack Obama and other Chicago transplants to the Washington, D.C. scene. Among the other topics discussed, this little tidbit regarding a possible Alexi withdrawal was thrown in near the end of the article:

White House officials have privately told allies that the best approach is to see whether Giannoulias, the state treasurer, can resurrect his flailing campaign through an advertising campaign that takes direct aim at Republican Mark Kirk. If he cannot accomplish that in the coming weeks, White House officials have told other Democrats they hope Giannoulias concludes that he cannot win the seat and that it’s time to call it quits for the good of the party. [snip]

Part of the problem facing the White House is that there’s no clear consensus candidate aside from the state’s attorney general, Lisa Madigan, who passed up an opportunity to jump into the race earlier this year. The other candidates who several Democrats believe are on the White House’s radar include state Comptroller Daniel Hynes, the runner-up in the Senate primary; David Hoffman; and possibly Rep. Melissa Bean.

Wow. That would be interesting. After finally defeating long-time Congressman Phil Crane in the 8th Congressional District, Melissa Bean has held on through two election cycles on in a largely Republican-leaning district, but is untested on a state-wide basis (as is, to be sure, Mark Kirk), and has overcome only lackluster GOP challengers (David McSweeney and Steve Greenberg). Whether a Bean substitution late in the game would energize Dems, especially downstaters, is questionable. And how much stock we can put in this scenario is questionable, since Politico did not identify their unnamed sources.

But it would sure be a boost to beleaguered GOP candidate Joe Walsh's bid to wrest Bean's congressional seat from her.

Maybe we can make the U.S. Senate/8th Congressional District races a 'two-fer' for the GOP? In this political climate, anything may happen in November, folks.

Call Alexi and Tell Him He's the Problem

Like this video:

h/t The Quincy Pundit

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Kirk Ad, "Distract"

From the Kirk for Senate Campaign:

Northbrook, Ill. – Kirk for Senate today unveiled a television ad focusing on Congressman Mark Kirk’s thoughtful, independent record while setting the record straight after his opponent’s desperate attempts to mischaracterize the Congressman’s record and mislead voters.

The 30-second spot, entitled “Distract,” highlights Congressman Kirk’s independent and effective record including his efforts to cut wasteful spending and stop British Petroleum from polluting Lake Michigan along with his support for stem cell research and service in Afghanistan as a Naval intelligence officer. The ad also sets the record straight after Alexi Giannoulias released a desperate attack ad designed to mislead voters and blame Kirk for his own reckless decisions.

“This election is about a clear choice to change direction and restore integrity to Illinois,” campaign spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said. “The latest attack ad is another desperate attempt by Alexi Giannoulias to distract voters from his reckless decisions that brought down Broadway Bank – decisions that he campaigned on when the going was good and directly reflect on his worthiness to serve in public office. While Giannoulias attempts to assign blame for his bank’s failure on others, Mark Kirk is building support for his plan to help small businesses hire more people in Illinois and holding companies like British Petroleum accountable.”

“Distract,” which will air on broadcast and cable networks, comes on the heels of Broadway Bank’s failure due to years of risky lending practices and loans to criminals that Alexi Giannoulias is trying to blame on Congressman Kirk.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Morning Update: Kirk, Walsh, Chang

We have a bit of catching up to do after a few days away from politics, so here goes:

Kirk v. Alexi: The latest Rasmussen poll has Congressman Mark Kirk up over State Treasurer Alexi Giannnoulias by 46% to 38%. This poll was taken on April 28th and is the first significant poll, I believe, taken in this race after the takeover of the Giannoulias' family's Broadway Bank on April 23rd. It probably didn't register any effect on the President's 'hug' to Alexi, given the same day, so we'll have to wait to the next poll to really see if Kirk's increasing lead is part of the overall trend.

Leaving aside the implications for Dems in general if Alexi loses Obama's old Senate seat to a Republican, Senator Dick Durbin, who chairs Alexi's campaign, may face difficulties in his own potential bid for leader of the Senate if Harry Reid loses his election, says CQPolitics. In fact, CQ appears to have almost written Alexi off already, as one line in its latest article says: "In reality, Durbin might be powerless to save Giannoulias, a banker by trade who was tarred with the hint of scandal even before his family’s Broadway Bank went under last month." Ow.

Joe Walsh: Life's Been Good? Not Lately: We wanted to like Joe Walsh as the GOP nominee to attempt to dethrone Dem Melissa Bean in the 8th Congressional District, but he's making it rather difficult. The latest in a series of issues that are plaguing Walsh is the defection of staffers in his newly-opened Grayslake office, reports the Daily Herald this morning. Fox News also covered the debacle in which police were called. Ugh. Dealing with stuff like this is one reason I gave up my position in party leadership.

Hamilton Chang Fundraiser (HD 17): State Representative Beth Coulson and others will host a casual fundraiser for 17th District State Rep GOP nominee Hamilton Chang at Hackney’s on Lake, 1514 E. Lake Ave, Glenview, IL, on Wednesday, May 12th, from 7:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Call 847-261-HD17 (4317) for more information, or e-mail the campaign at Requested donation is $50.