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IL-Sen: Alexi the unelectable?

Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is "deeply flawed" as a candidate against Rep. Mark Kirk (R) in next year's Senate race and "his nomination would put Barack Obama's former Senate seat in extreme jeopardy for the Democrats," according to a pollster for a rival Democrat.

Geoff Garin, who is conducting the polling for former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman, detailed Giannoulias' alleged flaws in a polling memo obtained Tuesday by the Fix.

At the center of Giannoulias' weakness, according to the memo, is his family's bank and its ties to disgraced developer Tony Rezko.

When the poll sample was read a paragraph of information about Broadway Bank and Rezko -- a paragraph that said the bank had "close financial ties" to the developer, had given him $11 million in loans and and had granted him "preferential treatment" by allowing him to bounce nine checks worth $500,000 -- roughly three-quarters expressed either very serious (62 percent) or fairly serious (13 percent) concerns about the issue.

Of course, political campaigns don't exist in a vacuum and Giannoulias has -- and will continue to -- make the the point that he has only the loosest ties to the family bank.

"Every public poll shows Alexi Giannoulias leading or neck-in-neck with Mark Kirk while David Hoffman is trailing badly," said Giannoulias campaign manager Tom Bowen. "He is behind, desperate and now he is running a negative and dishonest campaign, preferring to attack fellow Democrats instead of telling us what he would do in the Senate."

In initial head to head matchups, Kirk, who Garin describes as "formidable", holds a 40 percent to 37 percent edge over Giannoulias and a 40 percent to 30 percent edge over Hoffman.

But, given Giannoulias' exposure on the bank issue, Garin argues that Hoffman is the far safer bet for Democrats looking to hold the seat since he has the potential to be a stronger performer with independents and those Democrats with limited allegiance to the party. "The poll clearly demonstrates that David Hoffman has the far better chance to win next November because he can offer these voters a trusted alternative to Mark Kirk in a way that would be extremely difficult for Alexi Giannoulias," writes Garin.

Garin's memo is the latest salvo in what has become an increasingly contentious fight for the Democratic nod in Illinois. Giannoulias seemed to be the near-certain nominee as recently as a month ago as the establishment was rallying to him and some of the bigger name potential candidates -- most notably state Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- had taken a pass on running.

But, Hoffman's aggressive fundraising -- he posted nearly $900,000 raised including a $500,000 personal loan at the end of September -- coupled with the support that Chicago Urban League president Cheryle Jackson has won among African-American power brokers have made this race far more competitive.

Kirk has his own problems from his conservative flank in the Republican primary evidenced by his attempted courtship of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin last week.

Given Illinois' Democratic tendencies, whoever emerges from the February 2 primary has to be considered a slight favorite. But, the Democratic race appears to be headed toward a nasty few months, which could hamstring the eventual nominee as he (or she) prepares for what will be a very serious challenge from Kirk.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 17, 2009; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Morning Fix: The sticky wicket of Afghanistan

Comments

I thought Push Poll, too, but definitely fed to the press even if it isn't.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | November 18, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't this sound like a push poll?
The issue of the bank came up 4 years ago when Giannolias was running for state treasurer. It didn't keep him from winning big.
Four years later, with him out of the bank and in office for that time, it will have distinctly less traction.

Posted by: F_L_Palmer | November 18, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't this sound like a push poll?
The issue of the bank came up 4 years ago when Giannolias was running for state treasurer. It didn't keep him from winning big.
Four years later, with him out of the bank and in office for that time, it will have distinctly less traction.

Posted by: F_L_Palmer | November 18, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

If history is an indicator at all, Alexi G. should be a shoo in.

Obama's deep ties to Rezko (as well as numerous other "less than clean" associations) didn't faze voters.
If anything, voters came to Obama's defense; so, he got the great real estate deal, Rezko's backing, etc. and he's President!

And they called Clinton the teflon man!!

Posted by: pjcafe | November 18, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hoffman overreached by running for the Senate. Many Chicagoans - including myself - had deeply hoped he'd challenge Emperor Daley in the next mayoral race. This city has ever-deepening problems - many due to Daley's empirical reign. Hoffman had been the only voice strong enough to stand up to the Emperor. Rather than fight locally, he's aiming for DC.

Posted by: GordonsGirl | November 18, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The Anti-Defamation League, in a report released this week, has asserted that “a current of anti-government hostility has swept across the United States” since President Obama was elected just over a year ago.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study cites the Tea Party movement and the at times rowdy health care town halls that occurred over the summer as examples of the increasingly anti-government climate. But it also takes aim at one prominent media figure: Glenn Beck.

In general, the report said that those more hostile toward government believe the Obama administration poses a threat to the long-term well-being of the country, with some believing the president wants to import socialism or fascism to America.

“Some of these assertions are motivated by prejudice, but more common is an intense strain of anti-government distrust and anger, colored by a streak of paranoia and belief in conspiracies,” the study found.

And Mr. Beck, the report found, has helped fan that hostility by invoking conspiracy theories and “demonizing” the administration on both his radio program and Fox News television show. In contrast, the A.D.L., a prominent Jewish organization whose mission is to fight anti-Semitism, reported that commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have sharply criticized Mr. Obama on partisan grounds while dismissing extremists and conspiracy theorists.

Mr. Beck’s broadcasts “play an important role in drawing people further out of the mainstream, making them more receptive to the more extreme notions and conspiracy theories.”

Posted by: drindl | November 18, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Polls are being perverted by both Democrats and Republicans. Washington Post readers are not getting the truth.

Mark Kirk recently announced a “poll,” on which Cillizza relies, but Kirk left my name out of the poll. I am the only Republican who as actually run statewide before. Kirk has not. Why would Kirk leave my name out? I was beating him. Republican organizations declined to endorse Kirk over the weekend. If Kirk can’t control the “organization” that he bought and paid for, how is he going to control “rogue” Republicans who are fed up with the corrupt state party leadership and anxious to vote against Kirk?

Andy Martin
Republican for U. S. Senator
www.AndyforUSSenator.com

Posted by: andymartin | November 18, 2009 3:30 AM | Report abuse

"preferring to attack fellow Democrats instead of telling us what he would do in the Senate."

Thing is, Giannoulias doesn't have much to say about what he'd do in the Senate, either. He's trying to run against the Bush administration (which is no longer in office), on a basketball game with Obama (who hasn't endorsed him) and on his youth (not so attractive when we're facing multiple crises).

If voters can get over inexperience and questionable ties, Jackson's a stronger nominee; at least she's a grown-up, the Urban League is better than being a banker, the Senate needs more women & it definitely needs more minorities. In this election cycle, voters probably can't get over inexperience & questionable ties, so Hoffman would be the stronger general candidate.

Even w/o corruption concerns - already circulating among IL voters, push polls or no - 'Alexi the Unelectable' is still an appropriate nickname. It's to the Obama admin's credit they haven't endorsed him.

I saw him speak at an event -- he got all hissy and made waspish remarks at the audience when he noticed a few people in line for drinks instead of hanging rapt upon his every word. He also encouraged everyone under 30 to run for office "while you're still in [that] coveted demographic," and talked about being part of "the first generation to grow up with computers in [their] bedrooms." Yeah, that'll play well downstate.

Think younger, less charismatic/attractive male Sarah Palin (minus full-blown Tourette's) for Dems. Given all that the state & country are up against, bashing Rumsfeld on DailyKos isn't enough to carry you into office anymore.

Posted by: jes7 | November 17, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

We know the Ft. Hood shooter was harassed, probably "community stalked." Was he a target of this program?

SECRET MULTI-AGENCY FED PROGRAM TORTURES, IMPAIRS, PERSECUTES THOUSANDS OF U.S. CITIZENS WITH NATIONWIDE SILENT MICROWAVE/LASER WEAPONS SYSTEMS, LOCAL VIGILANTISM: VETERAN JOURNALIST

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

***
U.S. CENSORS NET WHILE OBAMA LECTURES CHINA ON NET CENSORSHIP

More "Stupid 'Humint' Surveillance Tricks" By "Fusion Center" Operatives

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-censors-net-while-obama-lectures-china-net-censorship

Note: the price of reporting these stories is constant interference with my telecommunications -- not just censorship, but malicious tampering that constitutes harassment and a violation of constitutionally protected rights. When will the Obama administration wake up and smell the police state that makes a mockery of the rule of law and is subverting its policies from within?

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 17, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

"Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is "deeply flawed" as a candidate against Rep. Mark Kirk (R) in next year's Senate race and "his nomination would put Barack Obama's former Senate seat in extreme jeopardy for the Democrats," according to a pollster for a rival Democrat."

So Alexi's rival does a private poll whose results make Alexi look bad. This is bogus from the get-go. Why does it merit space in the Post except to push this blog's false and tired "GOP comeback" narrative. BTW, what do Alexi's private polls say?
_________

And what's this line that Illinois has "democratic tendencies"? Yeah, like Philadelphia, Mississippi has GOP "tendencies."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 17, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

bravo, nodebris! spoken in true Fixian.

Posted by: drindl | November 17, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

You're messing with the narrative, bsimon1. You need to end with something like:

" . . . which could lead to overconfidence that might ultimately harm his campaign, leaving the Republican poised for a late surge in the polls and possible victory."

Posted by: nodebris | November 17, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Margaret, this blog was a huge success. We finally got Chris to call the guy Alexi and not the inexplicable "Lexi."

Sure it took three months to do this, but it shows that even old dogs can learn.

Posted by: MikeK3 | November 17, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Illinois loves crooks and thugs, what is the problem?

Posted by: leapin | November 17, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

http://washingtonindependent.com/67953/poll-beau-biden-grabs-lead-in-delaware-senate-race

Delawarians are apparently aware of Rep Castle's move to the right, and think it wrong. Undeclared opponent Beau Biden takes the lead...

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 17, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

No link to the poll, no detail on the poll's findings. Garin is a good pollster and all, but really, does this qualify as analysis in any way? This is all stuff on Giannoulias that has been in the papers for almost a year. Hoffman's running against Giannoulias Isn't this the way campaign's get their spin out in the papers and remind columnists to beat their opponent often for them? And they got somone to take the bait.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | November 17, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

'strue, if Obama hadn't taken everything in the spirit "contact sports" the Clintons threw at him had he never would have survived the general.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 17, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

You have to love it. The person with the worse polling is the only electable one. I agree with the need for a candidate to show that he can take a punch. Obama took a couple of strong ones during the primary season. Made the "he's a celebrity" ads look silly by comparison.

Republicans would still hold NY23 if they had held a primary. And Democrats will probably lose NY Gov. if they don't.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 17, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

That's what primaries are for...

Posted by: drindl | November 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"If the Giannoulias can't defuse this situation, then he isn't a good enough politician to take on Kirk."


Ditto.

What this attack has potential to do is moot a similar attack from Kirk in the general.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 17, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"only the loosest ties"

It seems to me excruciating detail in this regard would be a good thing for him to promulgate. If he can not do that, maybe he should be...unelectable.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 17, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Great. Now we have a push poll on Giannoulias as the basis of his "unelectability". If the Giannoulias can't defuse this situation, then he isn't a good enough politician to take on Kirk. But his isn't unelectable because Geoff Garin says so.

Posted by: mnteng | November 17, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama had ties to disgraced developer Tony Rezko too, right?

Posted by: JakeD | November 17, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, political campaigns don't exist in a vacuum and Giannoulias has -- and will continue to -- make the the point that he has only the loosest ties to the family bank.)"

But that doesn't stop anyone, does it?

Posted by: drindl | November 17, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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