Thursday, February 4, 2010

IL and DE Up For Grabs

President Obama and Vice President Biden both come from very blue Democrat states, yet the seats they vacated upon entering the executive branch are leaning towards the Republican candidates in the latest polls. While Republicans are expected to pick up seats at the midterm elections some are now questioning whether they take control outright in what would a political shocker. CBS reports GOP Eyes 2010 Senate Takeover

Beyond Illinois and Indiana, Democratically-held Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Arkansas and Nevada -- where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces a tough race -- could be very competitive, according to Salvanto's analysis.

Republicans cheered when North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan announced his surprise retirement, giving Republicans a good chance for another pick up. It was also good news for the GOP when Vice President Joe Biden's son Beau announced he would not run for his father's old Senate seat, leaving Republican Rep. Mike Castle the best-positioned candidate to win in Delaware. Democrats are now backingNew Castle County Executive Chris Coons to run against Castle.

"I predict to you that Chris Coons is going to surprise the devil out of them," Joe Biden told MSNBC. Castle, however, soundly beat Coons in the most recent polls, the Hill reports.


President's and Vice President's Senate Seats Could Both Be Picked Off By Republicans

Illinois Senate Seat Concerns Dems

Excerpt from the NYT Illinois Senate Race Worries Democrats Anew

CHICAGO — Alexi Giannoulias, the treasurer of Illinois and a basketball-playing friend of President Obama’s, won the Democratic primary here on Tuesday for the Senate seat once held by Mr. Obama. But his victory was hardly the free throw some had expected, setting off a new round of worrying among Democrats that the reliably Democratic seat might be picked off by Republicans in November.
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In an Illinois Primary Race, Victory Is Self-Declared (February 4, 2010)

With four others on the ballot, Mr. Giannoulias won 39 percent of the Democratic vote, or, as Republicans preferred to describe it on Wednesday, lost 61 percent of it. A little-known former federal prosecutor who had never run for office, David Hoffman, came within six percentage points of Mr. Giannoulias.

With much on the line here, including the symbolism of the president’s home state possibly slipping away, some Democrats were concerned that the party had played into the game plan of the Republicans, who chose Representative Mark Steven Kirk, a centrist-leaning suburbanite who hopes to appeal to the state’s independent voters and even some moderate Democrats.

Already Wednesday morning, the National Republican Senatorial Committee had issued a Web video mocking Mr. Giannoulias, 33, for what it described as questionable loans made by his family’s bank, his ties to Rod R. Blagojevich, the indicted former governor of Illinois, and more.

“Is this change we can believe in?” the video asks.

Mr. Obama called Mr. Giannoulias to congratulate him on his victory, aides said, but despite the friendship, the White House indicated in the past that it had reservations about his candidacy. At one point, White House officials tried without success to recruit another Democrat, Lisa Madigan, the state attorney general, even after Mr. Giannoulias had made his aspirations clear.

Mr. Obama, who endorsed no one in the primary, has pledged to party officials to do what he can to help keep the seat in Democratic hands. But aides said the president would invest his time and efforts in races across the country and not necessarily devote more attention to the contest for his former seat.

White House Worried About Senate Race in Illinois

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kirk Ready for Tough Fight in Senate Race

From Chicago Sun-Times Whole nation will be watching brutal campaign

"We all know that over the past year a quiet despair has descended on the State of Illinois," Kirk said. "A governor arrested, a senator seat disgraced, corruption rampant, unemployment rising and families struggling. The people of Illinois now see the arrogance of a one-party state."

On Tuesday night, the NRSC issued a Web ad highlighting Giannoulias' ties to Blagojevich and felon Tony Rezko titled, "Making Tony Soprano Proud."

Kirk is a five-term congressman from the north suburban 10th district with a Democratic tilt. Giannoulias started framing Kirk as a "Washington insider" Tuesday night and talking about job creation.

Giannoulias is the opponent the Republicans wanted. The Illinois Senate campaign will be unfolding at the same time Blagojevich's corruption trial starts this summer. Giannoulias starts the campaign against Kirk wounded by the primary.

Giannoulias, a basketball player -- he has shot hoops with Obama -- has the confidence of a jock and could needle Kirk. Kirk comes off like the smartest guy in the class and wants everyone to know it. Neither Giannoulias nor Kirk should be underestimated.

Fight Brewing for Illinois Senate Seat