Representative Mark Kirk has won the GOP nomination for the senate seat once held by Barack Obama. Kirk trounced the competition, winning 57 percent. The closest challenger, Patrick Hughes took in just 19 percent; Hughes had tried to build on ties to the Tea Party movement. The polls were tighter on the Democratic side Tuesday night, with Alexi Giannoulias holding a small lead at 38 percent over Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman at 34 percent. Giannoulias is a first-term state treasurer. The race is sure to draw national attention because the bitter symbolism of Democrats losing Obama’s old seat could rival their loss of Ted Kennedy’s to Republican Scott Brown last month. Additionally, it’s an open seat because its current occupant, Senator Roland Burris, is not running. It’s also the seat former Governor Rod Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell.