Below, memo from the National Republican Senatorial Committee
To: Interested Parties
From: Rob Jesmer, NRSC Executive Director
Re: Democrat Debacle Continues In Illinois
Date: July 9, 2009
It became clear yesterday that the Democrats are in real danger of losing President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat next November. This amazes even Republicans, considering the President, his own Chief of Staff, and the second most powerful U.S. Senator both hail from the state of Illinois. Simply put, no one would have ever thought that President Obama, Rahm Emanuel, and Dirk Durbin would ever let this happen.
As the White House's favored candidate, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, announced that she would not run for the U.S. Senate yesterday afternoon, the Republican Party's top recruit, U.S. Congressman Mark Kirk, signaled that he will enter the race. This critical development comes after months of blundering and party in-fighting that we've come to expect from the Democrats' corrupt Illinois party machine - a machine that could ultimately hand the Republican Party a coveted pick-up in the U.S. Senate in 2010.
This saga also highlights for voters the catastrophic soap-opera-esque political mismanagement that has unfolded for Democrats in Illinois since Democrat Governor Rod Blagoevich resigned and was indicted for trying to sell this very Senate seat. Just look at the timeline leading up to Madigan's announcement:
· On December 9, 2008, Senator Dick Durbin called for a special election to fill Obama's vacated seat in the wake of the Blagoevich scandal.
· Almost immediately, Harry Reid contradicted Durbin by embracing a gubernatorial appointment - not a special election - to fill the vacancy.
· On December 30, 2008, Rod Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris, and Reid and Durbin rejected him as a tainted nominee.
· Just 60 days later, Reid and Durbin reversed their positions and embraced Burris.
· In Mid-February, 2009, Durbin invited state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias to accompany him on a taxpayer-funded trip to Greece, and called Giannoulias a "formidable" candidate for the Senate seat in 2010, and a "hard worker" with great fundraising potential.
· On February 24, 2009, after questions were raised as to Burris' truthfulness under oath on whether he'd discussed the Senate seat with Governor Blagoevich, Durbin called for Burris' resignation. However, Reid refused to definitively say whether Burris should remain in the U.S. Senate.
· A week later on March 2, 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported that Durbin "acknowledged... that racial considerations were at play in the decision by majority Democrats to seat Burris."
· When the Illinois State Senate Democrats defeated a bill that would have allowed for a special election to replace Burris on March 6, 2009, Durbin remained conspicuously silent.
· On May 4, 2009, Giannoulias was forced to defend his decision to use money from an Illinois state college savings program to buy a $26,000 government vehicle, a controversy that caught the attention of the Illinois media. The program that paid for the vehicle, which allows families to save money for college, lost $85 million in investments last year.
· On June 1, 2009, the Associated Press reported that Governor Blagojevich "floated a plan" by Durbin on November 24, 2008 to give the U.S. Senate seat to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Durbin's office reportedly said that the Senator was "delighted" to see Madigan's name under consideration and even went so far as offer to be an intermediary between Blagojevich and the Madigans.
· Two weeks later in a slap to Giannoulias, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that "The Obama White House is pushing to have Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan run for the U.S. Senate." The Chicago Sun-Times also reported that the DSCC told Madigan she was their preferred candidate.
· Following a meeting with President Obama, Rahm Emanuel, and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, reports emerged in Mid-June that Madigan was "demanding an endorsement from President Obama and a clear Democratic primary field as the two conditions for her to run for the Senate." Giannoulias refused to back down, stating that no "insiders" could push him out of the Senate race he was already in.
Eight months after Barack Obama vacated his Senate seat, the President's preferred candidate to fill his Senate seat has rejected pleas that she run. They're left with Giannoulias, who is not a model of ethical reform and who may ultimately face a brutal primary challenge from Blagojevich press secretary Cheryle Jackson, political neophyte Chris Kennedy, and scandal-tarred Roland Burris.
Even if Giannoulias survives the primary, he will certainly face hard questions over his own ethical issues and his family's mob ties. Clearly, in a state that has been rife with ethical problems after the Blagojevich saga and the subsequent mishandling from Senate Democrats, Illinois voter are looking for a change.
Thankfully, the Republican Party is prepared to offer that change in November 2010.
Paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee