Illinois

Ugly Battle for Obama's Seat

The Illinois state parties chose their candidates for President Obama’s old Senate seat on Tuesday, and the race has already gotten ugly. With the primaries barely over—Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias won the Democratic nomination while U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk won the Republican slot—the National Republican Senatorial Committee has already released a Web video of Giannoulias' alleged mafia ties and tried to define him as part of a corrupt broken political machine. Echoing sentiments that followed Republican Scott Brown's Senate win in Massachusetts, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said that "in this environment, Democrats cannot take anything for granted," and said Giannoulias' campaign is "already working hard to frame the race." A Republican hasn't won a Senate seat in Illinois in more than a decade, although Kirk appears to have a shot—he's one of the country's top fundraisers, bringing in $1.8 million over the last three months.