* I mostly agree with Politico…
By midday, a look at precincts in Springfield and Champaign might prove instructive for Giannoulias and Hynes. If turnout is steady and strong south of Peoria, it’s most likely a soothing sign for the two, because both are more familiar to downstate voters.
A Hynes aide said recent polling has shown the comptroller surging into the lead over the governor in rural areas, but the aide cautions that “it has to translate into actual votes cast.”
Hoffman lacks strong name identification outside Chicago, and a potentially damaging story about Giannoulias’s role in his family’s bank has been bumped from leading the evening newscasts in favor of the racially charged gubernatorial primary. On the flip side, a big turnout on the North Shore and Lakefront would be beneficial to Hoffman.
The timing of this election makes enthusiasm even more difficult to measure.
“With how early the election is, it’s very difficult to gauge who’s going to vote and whether it’s going to line up with traditional votes,” said Jerry Morrison, political director of the Illinois Service Employees International Union.
* Not so sure of this yet, though. From CQ Politics…
Tom Jensen, the director of Public Policy Polling, said he thought the undecided voters would break for the front-runners, Giannoulias and Kirk, because those are the more familiar names in the race.
Kirk, yes. Alexi? We’ll see.
* We already kinda know this. From the National Journal…
If Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes beats Gov. Pat Quinn in today’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, the political wires will once again be buzzing about the anti-incumbent and anti-establishment mood out there. […]
The mood is very anti-Washington and very anti-status quo. If you are a sitting governor, senator or House member, you already know this. That said, simplifying this as an anti-government backlash misses the point. It’s about competence. When voters are hurting they really don’t care to hear excuses from those who are in charge. They want results. And if you are someone who can sell that — whether you are a longtime legislator or a first-time candidate — you can get the ear of voters.
* Cillizza sticks with the anti-incumbent theme…
Looking for an overarching theme in the voting? How about the latest test of just how anti-incumbent/anti-establishment the voters are feeling. Gov. Pat Quinn is in serious trouble and, while his challenger — state Comptroller Dan Hynes — isn’t exactly an outsider, the defeat of a sitting governor in a primary race is a rarity. (The last governor to lose in a primary? Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2006; he lost to a little known mayor named Sarah Palin.) The insider/outsider dynamic is even more clearly at work in the Democratic Senate primary where state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has lined up the support of much of the party establishment but has seen former Chicago inspector general David Hoffman making up ground with a law and order, outsider appeal — think Elliot Ness. In one ad, Hoffman paints Giannoulias as an insider’s insider — lumping the treasurer in with disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich and real estate developer Tony Rezko while touting himself as the only one who can bring real change to the state’s politics. Wins by Hynes and Hoffman today would rightly be interpreted as voters in Illinois sending the same message that the voters of Massachusetts did last month when Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R) scored an upset victory in the heavily Democratic Bay State.
The same message as Massachusetts? I’m not sure of that. We’ve had some pretty specific issues here that they didn’t have there.
* Most impenetrable lede of the day goes to the Washington Post…
Here at Manny’s legendary deli, where expansive pols have for decades stormed across the linoleum floor appealing for votes from the well-fed, Dan Hynes does not suit up as much of a dragon slayer.
Um, it’s supposed to be a newspaper report, not a bad novel.
* Worst column of the day goes to the New York Times’ Gail Collins. I don’t even want to excerpt it, it’s that bad.
Here’s one final observation about Illinois: The National Republican Senatorial Committee has to feel very fortunate about the timing of today’s primaries in the state. Why? Because had the primaries been next month (as had been normal pre-’08), we’re guessing that front-runner Giannoulias — who has political baggage — might no longer be the front-runner, especially if the story about his family’s bank continued to play for several more days. Make no mistake, the NRSC feels that Kirk would have an easier time in a general election against Giannoulias than, say, Hoffman. We’re also guessing that if the primary took place a month from now, Kirk — who voted for cap-and-trade and supports abortion rights — would be facing a stronger Tea Party challenge that he currently is. However, as we said above, it’s worth watching how close Hughes might get to Kirk tonight. This INCREDIBLY early primary (six weeks earlier than what WAS normal for Illinois) meant the campaign season didn’t kick off until after New Year’s, leaving underdog challengers just three weeks to gain traction.
* TPM looks at the tea party angle…
The meme since the NY-23 kerfuffle has been that Republicans will face contested primaries in dozens of their races, and an emboldened tea party movement will give establishment candidates the boot and potentially hand easy wins to the Democrats.
The evidence had been adding up - with tea party candidates popping up in Pennsylvania and Texas and conservative groups targeting moderate Republicans in California and Florida.
But Kirk holds a steady lead in our TPMPolltracker average over two tea party-backed challengers Patrick Hughes and Judge Don Lowery despite all those efforts. Republicans in Washington expect him to emerge the nominee and shake off the tea party fears for the GOP nationwide.
“This blows a hole in that whole narrative,” said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
* Ben Smith of Politico tries to shoehorn his “outsider” theory into our primary…
The Illinois primaries today are set to test a thesis I’ve been thinking about, and on which I’d be interested in readers’ input: This wave of populist revulsion at the establishment, almost by definition, is far harder to bring to bear in primaries. […]
If Giannoulias, Kirk, and, say, McKenna win today (the insider-outsider dynamic is a bit muddied in the Democratic governor’s primary), it’ll suggest that partisan primaries maintain a degree of insulation from the free-floating anger — which may not actually be good for the parties’ general election candidates. And if they’re upset, it’ll suggest the reverse.
Except, McKenna is running as an outsider and Kirk is a shoe-in.