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Illinois primary produces close races; No favorite in 2012 GOP presidential race

1. Illinois kicked off the primary season right on Tuesday with a series of closely contested intra-party fights. Favorites held serve in the state's open seat Senate race with state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R) winning their respective primaries and moving on to face one another in what will be a terrific general election scrap. Republicans quickly sought to define Giannoulias as corrupt with a Web video detailing his alleged mafia ties; National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director Rob Jesmer called Giannoulias "yet another ethically-challenged candidate who was raised in the tradition of the Chicago political machine," in a memo set to be released this morning. (The race is currently ranked as the ninth most likely to switch parties on our Senate Line.) Meanwhile, Gov. Pat Quinn held a narrow lead over hard-charging state Comptroller Dan Hynes in the Democratic primary while unheralded state Sen. Bill Brady had an even smaller edge on the GOP side. (With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the margins were thin enough to raise the prospect of a recount in both gubernatorial primaries. On the Democratic side, though Quinn sought to portray himself as the winner, Hynes did not concede. On the Republican side, the latest reporting had Brady and state Sen. Kirk Dillard in a virtual tie.) Down at the House level, Dan Seals (D) is hoping his third bid for the 10th district is the charm as he narrowly defeated state Rep. Julie Hamos. Seals will face off against businessman Robert Dold who won a convincing victory in a crowded Republican field. In the 14th district, Ethan Hastert, the son of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, lost a Republican primary race to state Sen. Randy Hultgren for the right to take on Rep. Bill Foster (D) this fall.

2. The 2012 Republican presidential race is wide open with more than four in ten self-identified GOPers in the undecided camp, according to a new Research 2000 poll conducted for the liberal Daily Kos blog. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin led the field with16 percent followed by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at 11 percent and former vice president Dick Cheney, who isn't running, at 10 percent. No other candidate scored in double digits although former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee tied for fourth place with 7 percent each. While this poll is rightly regarded as a test of little more than name recognition -- Palin is the best known name nationwide and hence leading the pack -- it does suggest the high level of fluidity in the 2012 field. We continue to believe that while much of the focus of the chattering class is on the likes of Palin, Romney and Huckabee, the level of indecision among the Republican electorate means semi-dark horse candidates, like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and South Dakota Sen. John Thune, or even bigger darkhorses (Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, anyone?) have plenty of room to run. The GOP field in 2012 is far more open than it was in 2000 when then Texas Gov. George W. Bush was a clear frontunner and is even more open than in 2008 when the likes of Arizona Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani were in the running. ALSO READ: Palin will headline Tea Party event in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hometown of Searchlight, Nev.

3. Former state party chairwoman Sue Lowden launched her first ad of the Nevada Senate campaign, a bio spot aimed at introducing her to voters and capitalizing on her financial edge over her Republican opponents. The 30-second ad is standard issue stuff -- Lowden's ancestors worked in the coal mines (apologies to Derek Zoolander), she became a teacher, a "conservative state Senator, etc. The ad's tagline? "Restoring opportunity, leading with integrity." The ad is costing the campaign roughly $125,000 with a buy of roughly 800 points in the Las Vegas and Reno media markets -- meaning that the average viewer will see it eight times in a week. Lowden, who is running neck and neck with businessman Danny Tarkanian in most Republican primary polls, put together a solid fundraising quarter by raising $820,000 and ended the year with $497,000 in the bank. Tarkanian, the son of former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, was less impressive -- raising $397,000 and closing 2008 with $257,000 in the bank. Wealthy (and unknown) businessman John Chachas (R) loaned his campaign $1.3 million, suggesting he will be a player in the primary as well. The X-factor in the primary continues to be Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki who, after being cleared of wrongdoing in an indictment related to his past service as state treasurer, is now actively considering the contest. Several Republican luminaries -- including Arizona Sen. John McCain -- have urged him to make the race but others in the state are more skeptical, noting that the negative publicity surrounding the indictment could make it difficult for him to beat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) in the fall. ALSO READ: Reid asks for, and receives, an apology (of sorts) from President Obama after the chief executive's remarks about Las Vegas on Tuesday.

4. It's no secret that Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) is in deep trouble in her bid for a third term this fall but new data from Public Policy Polling -- an auto-dialer so take the results with a major grain of salt and read ABC polling director Gary Langer's take -- suggest that Rep. John Boozman's (R) expected entrance into the race may be the political death knell for Lincoln. The PPP survey showed Boozman, who has held the northwest Arkansas 3rd district since 2001, ahead of Lincoln by a 56 percent to 33 percent margin; Lincoln also trailed state Sen. Gilbert Baker (R) by a 50 percent to 35 percent margin. PPP also tested other well known Democrats against Boozman in the event Lincoln steps aside but the results weren't much different. Boozman led Lt. Gov. Bill Halter 53 percent to 30 percent, held a 48 percent to 37 percent edge over Rep. Mike Ross and was up 51 percent to 36 percent on retired Gen. Wesley Clark. As evidence of the dislike of Democrats in the Razorback State at the moment, popular Gov. Mike Beebe, who is coasting to a second term this fall, was in a statistical dead heat with Boozman. The PPP numbers are more optimistic for Republicans than some of the other independent data that has been released of late but they aren't entirely out of step with those numbers either. Lincoln allies insist that she still has a story to tell -- if the health care bill either dies or passes some time soon -- and the money ($5 million on hand) to tell it. But, Lincoln's numbers continue to tumble, expect there to be considerable pressure brought to bear on her to step aside. ALSO READ: Our profile of Beebe -- in better times.

5. Thanks to our friends at the Hotline and Roll Call, we now have a two handy-dandy charts detailing all of the money raised -- and spent -- by candidates for Senate in the final three months of 2009. Since there are too many numbers to take in at once, we sliced and diced them a few different ways for you. Most cash-on-hand at the end of the year (incumbents): Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby ($16.3 million), Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh ($13 million), Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid ($8.7 million), Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter ($8.7 million) and California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer ($7.2 million). Most cash-on-hand end of of 2009 (challengers/open seats): Charlie Crist of Florida ($7.6 million), Rob Portman of Ohio ($6 million), Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania ($5.1 million), Mark Kirk of Illinois ($3.2 million) and Roy Blunt of Missouri ($2.9 million).

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 3, 2010; 6:04 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Alexi Giannoulias, Mark Kirk set for November Senate showdown in Illinois
Next: Former Sen. Dan Coats to challenge Evan Bayh in Indiana


How ... *nauseating* to read mention of Sarah Palin in the same sentence as mentions of the next presidential race.  To think that the bold experiment that is the United States of America could reach such a shabby and ugly state that anyone would even consider her.  What an insult to the ideals and sacrifices and honor of those who went before, all those who died on foreign soil defending that dream.  That a grasping lying idiot woman would be the one who draws it all to a close.

Really, Cillizza, why don't you stop talking about this stuff.  You dishonor everything about America.  Palin is to politics what a streetwalker is to romance.

Posted by: Noacoler | February 3, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

people, come on, quit encouraging the corner, don't respond, just ignore. you know what you're going to get back, so why bother? There are too many issues at hand to respond to the same old talking points, rhetoric, and venom.
Don't you love General McCrystal? and after reading an interview with him, I'm impressed by his realistic candor and foresight and his willingness to adapt to the situation on the ground, learning and respecting the local culture goes alot further. This has been done by the Canadian military for quite awhile, not always successful, but alot better than "occupying" a nation. Mullen and Gates are realistic and focussed also. And how the once-honorable McCain dissed their views, seeming to forget that Gates was appointed by Bush43, and everyone on both sides seemed to be fine with him. He is a great secdef; that's because he's not a politician, at least not like Rumsfeld. Powell is fully supportive of them, and repealling the law.
It would make for an interesting read to find out how many Republican wives/daughters are pro-gay marriage and/or pro-choice, Both of the McCain women are, DeDe in NY23 was, former first lady Barbra Bush was on Larry King saying she's pro-choice...
I'm interested to hear how the TeaParty convention approaches the fact that their candidate in Illinois primary came in fifth. also interesting to know fifth out of how many?
Thank you Chris for the info about the fact that the DCC (i think) has way more money than the RCC. I'm trying to give credit due here, cause I often do point out a political bent in some of your blogs.
The Prez talked about how both parties have to be careful about painting themselves into a corner with their words, so to speak, himself included. and so should media people.

Posted by: katem1 | February 3, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Lets face it Chris, the only candidate the Republicans can nominate in the 2012 race who could win is Jeb Bush. I'd hate to see another Bush in the White House but the Neocons would go nuts to support him. He could raise tons of cash in an instant. All the other Republicans are either too wacky or lacking in Chrisma.
Why do you keep avoiding the obvious question in the James O'Keefe bugging story? The big question to be answered is, WHO WAS FUNDING THIS QUARTET OF LOONIES? How much did Sean Hannity know and when did he know it? I find it curious that this guy can travel around the country and have no visible means of support and the fact that he keeps turning up on FOX News shows leads me to believe that they funded him, knew what he was doing and could be liable for a conspiracy charge as well. FIND OUT FOR US RSLIP

Posted by: rslip | February 3, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Noacoler, call me a naysayer but I'm sort of doubting a Republican resurgence in IL.

Add up the numbers of voters statewide yesterday and see who turned out.

It isn't even close.

Posted by: chi-town | February 3, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The assumption that actionable information obtained on Dec. 26 and it's useless now is based on a single assumption. Namely, that AQA is run by idiots.

Farouk went on a plane. There was a reasonable chance he would fail--either the bomb would fail to detonate (as happened) or he would have been apprehended. At that point, he would be questioned, possibly outside of the U.S. by those with few scruples.

They already had to assume that immediate whereabouts were compromised. Hence, anywhere he was, they weren't.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 3, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey 37th


Posted by: Noacoler | February 3, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse



The People of Massachusetts have sent their Senator to Washington and Harry Reid, Obama and the other democrats CONTINUE TO DISRESPECT THE PEOPLE OF MASSACHUSETTS by refusing to seat Scott Brown.

What is their problem??

The Constitution is clear - the term of the replacement is "until the election"

Anyone complaining about the Constitution should look into this.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Nine months till the actual election. Nine months of Republican resurgence, Democrats in trouble, nothing good to say about the President, cute nicknames for boring people, cherry-picked polls, RNC pep talks as straight news, outright lies presented with zero critical review, and weekly if not daily puff pieces for Pawlenty! Palin! PAAAAAAALIIIIIN!!

Never mind, never mention, what a lousy and incompetent job Republicans do when they get any power.

Racists warmly welcomed in the comments, warnings and bannings for anyone not so inclined.

Welcome to The Fix. In return for this devotion Our Gracious Host gets to be in the *same room* with these jerks.

Posted by: Noacoler | February 3, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

gee Chris, nice of you to give the GOPer a boost with your mention of his rumor filled weblog about sexy alexi having mafia ties. why, because he has an Italian/Sicilian name, like you do? did your blog really really need to mention this? and you wonder why people think you are a GOP shill. how about mentioning what the Dem is saying about Kirk, even if it is unsubstaniated, like the GOPer's is, at least it would be fair and balanced of you to put out rumors about both sides.

Posted by: katem1 | February 3, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

After yesterday, you can easily move IL towards to the top of the list of states to flip. I'm a lifelong liberal Dem and, for only the 2nd time in my life, now plan to vote GOP in November, casting my vote for Mark Kirk. If someone like me - one who's far closer to Nancy Pelosi than Newt Gingrich - is leaning this way, I certainly can't be alone.

parkerfl1 is right. Kirk is the kind of GOP candidate who wins elections. Outside of the Chicago metro area, IL is small-town conservative, but it's not reactionary. The tea party candidates sunk in yesterday's primary. Their ilk may prevail in Rick Perry's TX and the South but not here IL.

Posted by: GordonsGirl | February 3, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, 37, are you chained to your computer? you don't ever seem to stop posting, 24/7.. all day long. Not much of a life, eh?

Y'all suppose this 'guy' isn't human? Sounds like a program -- AI, if you could call it intelligent. what do you think, scrivener?

Posted by: drindl | February 3, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I bet no one will win the Fix t-shirt over the Democratic Governor's primary in Illinois.

Posted by: rogden71 | February 3, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse


I believe the readers here really appreciate the compelling reasoning that you have advanced at 11:10 am.

I guess when Obama's "soft on terror" results in actual deaths, that will be your response as well.

Are you going to go to the funerals? Are you going to talk to the families - and say, "well, we thought we were better than Bush, and we thought we had a better idea on how to fight terrorism."

Why don't you personally go down to GITMO and personally open the cell doors for the TERRORISTS TO RUN FREE ???


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I am going to make the point again - Obama was NOT in a rush to question the terrorist in December, and a month has gone by before we started getting info out of him.

However, Obama WAS IN A RUSH TO TELL REPORTERS that the terrorist was talking.

This is a complete laugh.

It is completely silly.

The country does not want Obama's soft approach on terror, the country does not want Obama's massive spending, and the country does not want Obama's health care plan.

I guess it is time for all of you to go cry in the corner.

Instead of actually governing - instead of fulfilling the campaign commitment to be bipartisan, instead of actually protecting the country PROPERLY, the leftwing has put this country on a rollercoaster of HIGH SPENDING AND WEAK NATIONAL SECURITY.



Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse





Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 3, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade and margaretmeyers

THIS COUNTRY HAS JUST WASTED A MONTH PLAYING GAMES WITH THE SOFT APPROACH ON TERROR. This entire month, every American's life has been put in greater RISK by your arrogant and stupid ideas.

It is pretty simple.

I guess someone has to die before you realize you are wrong.

But you still think you are right.

Well, I hope you two go to the funerals and look the families in the eyes when you realize how wrong you are.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse





more InforMAtion

than pressure


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 3, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse


You and Obama think you are so smart -

You have had enough notice.

I will go this far - ANYONE who supports Obama's "soft on terror" policies - as soon as an American dies as a result of those policies, that makes you guilty of manslaughter.

It's pretty simple.


But people like you are soooooo hooked on the idea that somehow you are "better" than everyone else because you somehow have a "better" idea on how to handle terrorism.

You are wrong.

I just hope no one dies as a result of your and Obama's stupidity.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse



margaretmeyers YOUR position is needlessly RISKING AMERICAN LIVES.




Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Geez, 37th, it's pretty apparent Abdulmutalib has been talking all along. Didn't we briefly close embassies because of credible threats just days after he was caught? Didn't we do that pinpoint excission of 3 of his bosses in Yemen just a few days after that? The same personality traits that made him singular for his terrorist bosses is making him useful to us as well.

I'd say

he's proving to




Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 3, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse


I believe it is the democrats who are overestimating - or rather mis-estimating - the tea party movement.

The democrats again are out of touch.

The tea party people have always been around - as a wing of the Republican party - they are not new people.

So the idea that they are a new force, with new masses coming in - really is not true.

What is true is that the Republicans are not dragged down by the Iraqi war or the negative images of Bush anymore. Instead, the democrats are now dragged down by the boneheaded policies of Obama and the far-left democrats.

The democrats initially supported the Iraqi war, and then they turned on the war in the middle - leaving our soldiers sitting there.

The Republicans are on the rise - and the democrats have little they can do to stop it.

For all his crybaby speeches this week, this budget is Obama's - and the deficit is now Obama's -

AND if it wasn't for Scott Brown, Obama's budget deficit is now much less worse than it would have been.

Obama's policies have been wreckless on the budget - and only reasonable, responsible Americans have stopped Obama from opening up an even larger budget hole.

That is the truth.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Politics Rendered Irrelevant When Your Government Violates Civil, Human Rights


* Thousands of Americans slandered as "dissidents" or undesirables, targeted by Bush legacy program for debilitating, cell tower- based microwave assault, held hostage in their own homes to fed-supported vigilante "community policing" stalking units equipped with warrantless GPS devices, who vandalize and terrorize as local police look the other way.

* "Directed energy weapons" -- a nationwide installation employing cell towers and satellites -- induce weakness, exhaustion, mood changes, pain, head and body aches, physical and neurological impairment, strokes, aneurysms, cancer -- and many victims do not realize what is making them sick.

* Regional Homeland Security- administered "fusion centers" reportedly serve as command centers for covert electromagnetic radiation attacks, pervasive surveillance, financial sabotage of those identified as "dissidents," "trouble-makers" or slandered as threats to society.

* Use of microwave weaponry to torture and impair political opponents recently confirmed by deposed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya.

* Pleas for justice, to local police and FBI, go unanswered -- as do demands for a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigation and congressional hearings.

"These are crimes against humanity and the Constitution, being perpetrated under the cover of national security and 'safe streets' by multiple federal and local agencies and commands -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight, enabled by the naivete of those who think 'it can't happen here.'" -- Victor Livingston, former reporter for WTXF-TV Philadelphia, Phila. Bulletin, N.Y. Daily News, St. Petersburg Times; producer/host, MSG Network Sports Business Report; columnist,

See: (Journalism Groups -- REPORTING" section); OR OR (see "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 3, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The victories by Scott Brown and now Kirk in Illinois prove the limits of the Tea Party movement within the GOP. Get outside of the extreme base for these folks and there is just no mainstream traction.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 3, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Reporters were called back to the White House yesterday so they could be told (in emergency mode) - that the Detroit airplane bomber was talking again.


All this intelligence is now over a month old - and anything could have happened already.

Funny how Obama was NOT in a rush to question the bomber -

However, Obama WAS in a rush to tell reporters that the bomber was talking again -

Do I have to mention the word IDIOTIC?

How much of a laugh do Obama's policies have to produce???

I just hope no one dies on account of Obama's "soft on terrorism" policies.

Right now, Obama's hardheadness is RISKING EVERYONE'S LIFE.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The Minnesota Caucus Straw Polls produced three winners. On the GOP side, Marty Seifert is the clear favorite to win the party endorsement & primary. For the DFL, Minneapolis Mayor RT Ryback and State House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher each received about 20% of the vote, followed by 15% at undecided. Others, like former Sen Mark Dayton, will stay in the race through the primary, but this should be viewed as a two candidate event.


Posted by: bsimon1 | February 3, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

mark, a few weeks ago Howie Kurtz called into question the credibility of Rasmussen Polls when it was learned that the RNC has been a major client, spending major $$$. Still believe the validity and independence of the Rasmussen robocall?
Besides, how can 1700 people accurately predict how 120,000,000 are going to vote?
Poll companies and the media are co-dependents, and Nov/08 was grossly wrong in their predictions. They said it was too close to call, yet the results certainly weren't close.

Posted by: katem1 | February 3, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

mark, a few weeks ago Howie Kurtz called into question the credibility of Rasmussen Polls when it was learned that the RNC has been a major client, spending major $$$. Still believe the validity and independence of the Rasmussen robocall?
Besides, how can 1700 people accurately predict how 120,000,000 are going to vote?
Poll companies and the media are co-dependents, and Nov/08 was grossly wrong in their predictions. They said it was too close to call, yet the results certainly weren't close.

Posted by: katem1 | February 3, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the info and for the link to Langer's critique of robopolling. Polling is fascinating as a subject.

Langer notes that robocalling's "concerns include noncoverage, nonresponse, lack of respondent selection, nonvalidation, opaque weights and the absence of a persuasive, independent literature evaluating the approach."

He also recognizes that "defenders of robopolls will point in another direction, at those that have accurately predicted election outcomes."

The repeated success of Rasmussen, which autodials, in predicting results, tells me that its methodology must be more refined than PPP's. Typically, Gallup, historically the most accurate conventional pollster, and Rasmussen, the most accurate robocaller, reach similar results. I suspect 538 has addressed this, but I have not read Nate as religiously as some.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 3, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

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