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Gotta Have Smarts, d00d!

Wow.

Just wow.

What else can you possibly say?

The worst thing Illinois could have done was move up its primary to be the first in the nation. Now, there is plenty of time for the dirty campaigning to start. And for the US Senate seat up for grabs in Illinois, the campaigning is going to be very very dirty indeed.

The nominees for the Senate seat, at least as far as Establishment parties goes, are Alexi Giannoulias for the D's and Mark Kirk for the R's. Kirk is continuing to stump for abortion rights and gun control on the R's dime, so they must really be desperate if they aren't trying to muzzle him and bring him in line with the party. He won in a walk, running away with 56% of the vote. The nearest competitor, Hughes, had 19%. Kirk is very much a part of the Machine, and that's what makes this whole thing suddenly very very interesting.

Giannoulias is good friends with Barrack Obama. They play basketball together. Lends itself to lots of campaign commercial imagery of them being regular guys, playing outdoors in a city park (the kind with trees and benches) with low sun, soft focus, and sepia tones. However, Giannoulias' family is behind Broadway Bank, which is currently being investigated by the feds for making loans to mob figures and to Mr. Tony Rezko. Rezko is a real estate mogul who has his fingers in literally every major politician in Illinois who just got convicted for influence peddling. Rezko helped Obama with a honey of a real estate deal when he was on the rise. It was only lightly touched on during the D's Presidential primary. I wasn't surprised Hillary Clinton didn't pursue it. After all, she got her start as a Chicago political lawyer before she married Bill. I wouldn't be surprised if she has some sort of connection to Rezko herself.

David Hoffman, Giannoulias' fiercest opponent, nearly swung things his way with a series of recent attack adds highlighting the insider connections Giannoulias has. I'm wondering what the Chicago Way White House will do. If Obama tries stumping, Kirk will have more mud than he can possibly sling. Massachuttes was bad enough. Obama being rebuked by his home state (Illinois, not Hawaii, bub) is something he can't risk. It will expose him as having no support and will effectively kneecap any legislation he hopes to push through Congress. The D's are desperate to hold onto the seat, and if that means our own President is persona non grata until after the elections, that's just the way it goes. And given the desparate edge to hold onto control of Congress, since they do make and pass the laws, Obama has no choice but to stay on the bench.

So, for us fans of negative campaigning (yeah, I know, everyone bitches about it, but the fact is, voter turnout and involvement is ALWAYS higher for negative campaigns, so somebody else must like it), the next few months are going to be a hoot.

On the governor side, we don't know just yet (estimates are it will take maybe a couple of weeks). On the D's, Pat Quinn won by less than 1% of the vote with a precinct still to count, and you know a recount is coming. The R's aren't any better, with three people grouped together, Brady, Dillard, and McKenna, less than 2% seperating all of them. Brady is favored to win, which bothers me. Brady wants Creationism taught in schools. Brady opposes abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, unless the life of the mother is at state. Brady opposes same sex marriage or even the political compromise of civil unions. Three swings, three strikes. He won't get my vote.

If Quinn does get the D's nod for guv, he's dead meat. Former gov Rod Blagojevich is about to get rung up on more charges. He wrote a book blaming most of the political ills on downstate politicians, not the Chicago ones he's related to. The book sent a message -- I know where the bodies are buried, and if I go down, I'm taking you with me. It doesn't help that Quinn wants to keep jacking up taxes instead of reigning in the state pension plans and putting a better eye on Medicade spending.

Most surprising, though, is the Machine broke down. Todd Stroger, the Cook County board president, got handed his ass, getting just 13% of the vote and coming in dead last. The winner was Preckwinkle with 49% of the vote, nearly a mathematical majority. Some opined that Stroger just didn't work as hard as his dad. Bullshit. Stroger has raised taxes, chasing out jobs from Cook County, and kept raising taxes to keep the government machine running. Last time, there wasn't enough voter revolt to throw him out. This time, the Tea Party Patriots got enough numbers. You don't lose a politically connected job in Cook County unless the voters are pissed.

13%? Boy, are they pissed.

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