Anyone who's been paying attention to the Illinois Senate race to date just knew this was going to happen: Last night, as anticipated, Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias won the Democratic nomination to replace Roland Burris (and Barack Obama) in the US Senate, and no sooner has the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) put the smackdown on him... hard.
Here's an excerpt from NRSC Chairman John Cornyn's statement:
“Voters in the Land of Lincoln are tired of the same failed politics of corruption and dishonesty, and they are searching for accountable, effective, ethical, and trustworthy leadership this November. As we approach the next nine months before Election Day, the clear contrast in this campaign could not be more apparent.
“Mark Kirk has a respected record of independent-minded leadership, ethical accountability, and bipartisan achievement in Congress. I know that he will work hard to restore the checks-and-balances and fiscal responsibility that Illinois families, seniors, veterans, and small business owners deserve in Washington. Congressman Kirk has served our nation honorably as a Commander in the United States Naval Reserves, and he will continue fighting to protect America as a United States Senator.
“In contrast, Mark Kirk’s Democrat challenger, Alexi Giannoulias, is a product of the ethically-tainted political machine in Chicago that was run by disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich. As the state’s first term Treasurer, Giannoulias has eagerly endorsed his party’s out-of-control spending agenda in Washington, and he has failed to reject the Obama Administration’s plans to detain and try terrorists on American soil."
More to the point, here's an NRSC web video that eagerly (and fairly, in my view) points out Giannoulias' mob, Rezko and Blago ties:
Expect a lot more of this to come in the coming months-- there is a lot of dirt on Giannoulias that goes beyond just this, and there will be a lot of muck to rake on this guy. Democrats made a phenomenal mistake in nominating him, no matter how you look at it: this is the guy Mark Kirk desperately wanted to run against, and national Republicans are chomping at the bit on this one knowing that even if by some miracle, Giannoulias pulls this off, his apparent tendency to behave in an ethically-challenged manner will prove an ongoing headache for national level Democrats, including Obama (with whom he is close friends) should he ever make it into the US Senate. Roland Burris has been bad enough on this level, but those who have observed him closely believe Giannoulias could easily become the new Burris-Blago cross-- something that Illinois, and the country, undoubtedly does not need, but which probably represents about the biggest windfall Republicans could hope to get all year long-- and in a year where Democrats are already deep in trouble, that's saying something. [intro]