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Big bucks for Kirk, but also some trouble ahead

Friday, Aug 27, 2010

* The unintended consequences of the federal judicial ruling forcing a special US Senate election on election day continue to pile up

POLITICO has learned the National Republican Senatorial Committee has dedicated $3.4 million in coordinated funds to Kirk’s campaign against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias.

The national party committees can spend up to $1.7 million in coordinated funds in Illinois, according to federal election rules. However, the NRSC, according to a source close to the committee, will take advantage of a recent court-ordered special election that effectively doubles the total allowable amount that candidates can fundraise – and committees can spend in coordination with candidates.

The funds will surely be welcome: The Illinois race is expensive and very competitive. A Kirk spokesman, Kirsten Kukowski, confirmed the campaign would get the maximum funds and said, “We are grateful for the NRSC’s strong support for Congressman Kirk.”

Kirk is already ahead of the money chase in the race. At the end of June, Kirk reported having $3.9 million in the bank; meanwhile, Giannoulias reported just over $1 million cash on hand.

* Even if the Constitution Party candidates don’t make it onto the ballot, Kirk will still have to worry some about the Libertarians eating into his base

The nominating petitions for the Libertarian and Constitution parties both faced objections, and were both reviewed by election officials. In the end, the Libertarians were found to have collected enough signatures to get on the ballot, but candidates from the Constitution Party appear to have fallen short.

The Illinois Republican Party acknowledges it is paying the attorney who led the challenges, though its chairman, Pat Brady, denies the GOP is targeting conservative candidates out of fear they’d steal away votes from his party.

BRADY: Anybody on the ballot poses a threat to the Republican ticket. That’s why we’re running hard and we’re going to continue to run hard. So I don’t think we’ve diced it out to say that one threatens more than the other.

The Illinois Republican Party worked so hard to keep the Constitution people off the ballot for a reason. Bill Brady’s base is fine. Kirk’s isn’t as secure. If the race is close, it could make a difference. Then again, if Quinn continues to tank he’ll likely take Giannoulias down with him. Not to mention all that money that Kirk and the nationals are planning to spend.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:39 am:

    From and earlier thread:

    - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:40 am:

    I smell a huge Kirk push in ads about jobs and the economy. Alexi’s smaller warchest will be hard pressed to counter what’s coming.

  2. - A.B. - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:40 am:

    Very simply, Kirk is primed to pull ahead thanks to money…and AG just doesn’t have the dollars to match.

  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:40 am:

    You can smell all you want. I’d like to see it first.

  4. - Davey Boy Smithe - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:45 am:

    I’m not sure it’ll matter too much unless the other candidates get out and run ads. My parents (in their 60s) usually only know the two parties, R and D, so I’m sure they wouldn’t even consider any other option. Unless they’re looking for another option and doing their own research, they won’t consider a non R/D.

  5. - Whatever - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:48 am:

    How much as the DSCC pledged for Alexi? Their silence on this says a lot.

  6. - Quinn T. Sential - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:50 am:

    Has the GALEXI campaign used the monies recently raised by the OBAMARAMA funder to pay down past due debts to both employees and vendors; or have the continued to defer those in their own self interest. If that continues liabilities may exceed assets and an unpaid vendor could force the campaign fund into bankruptcy.

    Now would that be an intersting October surprise! As employees and vendors wait to get paid for work performed and services rendered, GALEXI is using their money to pay for TV commercials to promote himself.

    That will resonate real well with voters.

  7. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:50 am:

    It’s Kirk. What’s a Libertarian not to like? He’s in favor of or against whatever they believe.

    The only Libertarian true believers are in Texas voting for Paul. Not in Illinois.

  8. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:52 am:

    My support for Kirk in easy to understand thoughts:

    The first vote that Kirk or Alexi takes as a member of the new Congress will be for Leader of the Senate. Harry Reid is totally unacceptable, at least for me. Alexi would vote for Reid. That seals the deal.

    The Corollary:

    There might be mischief in the lame duck session. Kirk would provide some assurance this Congress does no more damage before November. Advantage Kirk.

  9. - Living in Oklahoma - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:54 am:

    I am a Republican Candidate for a local office in Jackson County and I now have a candidate to vote for. His name is Mike Labno, and he is the Libertarian candidate for Senate. He is a small government conservative who is also pro life and pro second amendment. I hope other republicans vote for him as well, because the worst thing that could happen to the Illinois Republican Party is a Mark Kirk win on November 2nd.

  10. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:58 am:

    Kirk has a 4-1 money lead — why isn’t he beating Alexi like a rented mule on TV? Remember what Blago did to JBT?

    Is he saving for a big victory party? Money moves the needle, which begets more money. Plus, it doesn’t look like Alexi has the cash to respond right now.

  11. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:00 pm:

    Which all gets back to the Poll and Rich’s observation yesterday. Kirk has all this money on hand, but is running a ead even race with Alexi and has no presence on the jobs issue.

    Kirk may be hoarding for a last minute stauration, but if he delays to long wiht a message, he may find himslef playing catch up.

  12. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:08 pm:

    The self-identified libertarians I know personally are among the most practical and clear thinking people around. They are big into personal freedom and personal responsibility and do not pay much attention to polls. They often lean leftish with social issues but usually lean heavily rightish on economic issues and taxation. If you check out their signature publications such as “Reason” you will see their current emphasis is on pushing back at much of the current congress’ agenda –especially Obamacare– and ending subsidies in a variety of other economic areas including housing. It will be typically “libertarian” of them to vote for the senate candidate who they see as having the best real (not theoretical) chance to help them toward their immediate goals in Washington. I think that means most Illinois libertarians will end up voting for Kirk, regardless of who is on the Libertarian ballot line.

  13. - Bakersfield - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:19 pm:

    I’m curious if this race will have a reverse Oklahoma/Kansas/Wyoming effect. Voters in those states would never consider sending a Democrat to the US Senate, but they were fine electing Democrat Governors. Brady appears to be set to win like Edgar and Thompson but do Illinois voters feel comfortable enough to send a Republican to Washington? Right now I am not so sure. Kirk should be up at least 5 here and its not happening.

  14. - Another Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:27 pm:

    Bakersfield - the “reverse” you mention holds true for Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California. Those states have often voted for GOP governors while almost always voting Dem for House and Senate seats. I think it is because when it comes to governors, people want the person they feel can best run the state, regardless of party. When it comes to congress they vote more for ideology.

    This could partly explain why Brady is doing better than Kirk even though Kirk should fit the state better than Brady.

  15. - I'm Just Saying - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 12:57 pm:

    Where is Cedra Crenshaw yelling about the Kirk Campaign disenfranchising the constitution party??????

  16. - someone else - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:09 pm:

    Yes, IJS, and I am waiting for Dennis Byrne at the Tribune to write a column about how the Republican Party is “risking the wrath of the voters” by keeping candidates off the ballot as he claimed with Crenshaw!

    Knowing Byrne and the Tribune’s intense hatred of all things Democratic or in the least bit progressive, I’m not holding my breath.

  17. - circularfiringsquad - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:11 pm:

    Commando maeitup will need every nickel to counter his own message. Look for him totake NoTaxBill down too…lack of truth really hurts goppers

  18. - shore - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:27 pm:

    they endorsed the democrat for president last time.

  19. - train111 - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:27 pm:

    I’m sure Fox News and the Tea Party movement will be venting all over the airwaves and raising boatloads of money to help the Constitution Party regain its ballot spot in the same way that they were so ‘outraged’ about Crenshaw as well!!!
    A political outrage is only an outrage as long as it favors those whom you support!!


  20. - Deep South - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:47 pm:

    I don’t know train - Fox has so many outrages de jour, and probably has many in the wings, I wonder if they’ll get to the Illinois Constitution Party. As for Illinois’ Libertrians, I would urge all those on the right to give them their votes.

  21. - Bubs - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 1:53 pm:

    We are not even talking yet about the private group money that may get spent here this Fall.

    I have heard Mike Labno speak at length, and while I think he is a nice and well meaning guy, and I (like many) hold fairly libertarian viewpoints within the GOP, he has no business being in the U.S. Senate.

    The good news for Kirk is that Republicans are beginning to pull ahead in key states like PA and OH, while Fiorina can’t seem to close within 5 on Boxer in CA. If that pattern holds, it may free up some extra money in the clutch.

    This one is gonna be a real money war.

  22. - Liandro - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:13 pm:

    I voted Libertarian for Senate in 2008, but I am voting Kirk in 2010. I cast a protest vote back then in a race the R’s didn’t have a chance in. This time it is a serious race, and there is no room for protest votes. R’s need to come home if they are serious about their ideology. As Cinc mentions, Kirk votes for a R majority and helps kill lame-duck shenanigans, and votes with us far more then Alexi or a defeated Libertarian ever will. I may cast L votes again, but sure as heck not in this race. Alexi is just too incompetent and too dangerous.

  23. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:21 pm:


    I had about an hour private conversation with Mike Labno. He is a very sincere and committed guy. I’m pretty sure if the Republican candidate were anyone but Kirk, say a guy like Roskam (who made a serious error not seeking the Senate seat this cycle) had run, I’m guessing Mike would have taken a pass.

  24. - Liandro - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:24 pm:

    @Bubs: On Aug 25th Rasmussan had Fiorina one point down from Boxer; a Aug 12th CBS/SurveyUSA poll had Fiorina leading by 5 points. RCP average has Boxer up by 3.5….otherwise known as within the margin of error. They’ve been well within 5 points of each other for a long time.

  25. - Liandro - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:35 pm:


    I don’t knock the guys for trying. And I’m not a fan of kicking people off ballots, even if they eat away from my preferred guy. But there is just too much on the line this cycle in a race that is too close for me to actually split my ballot in the big races. The Obama agenda is terrible for small biz and individual empowerment, and I am ALL about stopping him and turning back as much as we can. I need a guy who can win.

    As for Roskam passing…too late now, heh. We got who we got, and while Kirk has made some missteps he’s head and shoulders above Alexi in both quality and voting pattern. I’m excited to vote for Hultgren in the 14th, so I will put most of my energy/outreach there. Kirk just gets my vote. I’ll keep an eye on Mike so I recognize him if he pops up in the future, but there is no chance my vote splits when this much is on the line.

  26. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 3:49 pm:

    While talking to Mike, I tried to convince him to run for local office in Oakbrook, or maybe at the County level. He would be a great asset.

  27. - Angryman - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 5:46 pm:

    I’m so sick of the current people running Illinois, not to mention my county. I’m a libertarian and I really don’t agree with Kirk. He’s a neocon. I’m hoping Mike Labno can win, even if the libertarian party of Illinois doesn’t have the same kind of money as the established parties. I’ve met Labno during libertarian events.

  28. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 6:32 pm:

    =Alexi’s smaller warchest will be hard pressed to counter what’s coming.=

    “Money, Money, Money, Money…Money”

    This is an analyst’s dream: Will it be money and ads–or the ability to “connect” with the Voters–even those who DON’T WANT to LIKE a Candidate.

    The difference has never been so obvious before.

  29. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 6:37 pm:

    And, finding out whether Ds and Is will cross over AND the Republican “base” will hold their nose–even after the perception that all the pandering and “inclusion” is targeted solely (thus far) to the left.

  30. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 6:39 pm:

    =That will resonate real well with voters. =

    I’ll bet it will. Translation: “underdog”. There’s a theme here, and it’s working IMHO.

  31. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 6:46 pm:

    =They are big into personal freedom and personal responsibility and do not pay much attention to polls.=

    Prediction: That “personal freedom” thing, including the right to “free speech”, which was once a *strength* of the Kirk Campaign, is going to come back to bite the Kirk Campaign.

    Many “underlying tones” that have been building up based on the Kirk Campaign’s actions and the actions of “supporters”….and those tones are becoming more obvious and are headed for the surface (see the “theme” of some blogs over the last couple of days as an argument to support that statement).

    Just sayin.

  32. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 6:51 pm:

    =There’s a theme here, and it’s working IMHO.=

    And Kirk’s Campaign seem to have fallen for it “hook, line, and sinker”. Beat a man when he’s down. “Hate” the *rich* guy–even while he’s going down. “Oneupmanship” at the expense of the rich guy whose going down, but trying to hang onto the “American Dream”.

    It’s so obvious, yet they can’t see it.

  33. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 6:55 pm:

    =Where is Cedra Crenshaw yelling about the Kirk Campaign disenfranchising the constitution party??????=

    Bait, “I’m just sayin”?

    Cedra does NOT strike me as the type who is easily manipulated. If she hits, she’ll hit at the right time.

  34. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 7:01 pm:

    =say a guy like Roskam (who made a serious error not seeking the Senate seat this cycle) had run=

    Yup. But he’s got time. I’ll bet that if he plays this well, he’s going to the top. Already hearing “tremors” out there, though he HIMSELF has been pretty quiet. My advice: “just survive” this one.

  35. - Angryman - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:28 pm:


    “I have heard Mike Labno speak at length, and while I think he is a nice and well meaning guy, and I (like many) hold fairly libertarian viewpoints within the GOP, he has no business being in the U.S. Senate. ”

    Why not? Should we stick to PROFESSIONAL politicians? The reason I like Labno is that he’s NOT a professional.

  36. - Angryman - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 10:30 pm:


    You can’t run for County office, at least in DuPage, unless you have candidates for every office, including coroner. He’d have to run as a republican.

  37. - Realist - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:15 pm:

    The Constitution Party debacle is no surprise. Look who their attorney was–Mr. Ibendahl. Ibendahl was about as effective as he was in getting the promised primary challenger to run against Bill Brady in 2008.

    After characterizing his retaining of Ibendahl as providential, Mr. Stufflebeam has shown himself to be a very poor judge of character. Anyone who has even a cursory knowledge of Ibendhal’s track record knew how it would end up, but not Mr. Stufflebeam. Poor, poor judgment.

    So much good people’s time and money wasted.

  38. - Erik Martensen - Friday, Aug 27, 10 @ 11:16 pm:

    It almost pains me to hear that only Kirk supporters consider Mike Labno as a threat. I don’t think that there has been a politician in Illinios that has won an election based on sound fiscal policies, smaller government and recognition of constitutional rights of states and citizens in a very long time. Whether you vote democrat or republican, the likelyhood that your candidate will actually represent your ideals once elected is slim to none. I’m voting for Labno, and I do truly hope he wins.

  39. - LibertyWatchdog - Saturday, Aug 28, 10 @ 10:17 pm:

    Mike Labno is the only candidate who understands that the powers delegated by the Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. Kirk and Giannoulias are the kind of power hungry individuals who would try to ban you from growing your own tomatoes if they could, claiming it affects interstate commerce.

    “I don’t want to split the vote” That’s the same line I hear every election, and it’s the same mentality that has allowed a 2-party cartel that passes laws requiring outsiders to gather 150% more signatures for ballot access.

    Pain and suffering at the polls is the only thing Kirk understands, and that’s exactly what he’s going to get.

  40. - Bosco - Tuesday, Aug 31, 10 @ 8:54 am:

    You have to look at the Chicago Magazine!! Berrios is the main subject.

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