WASHINGTON -- Demand will remain high for President Obama -- and first lady Michelle and other honchos in the Obama administration -- to help Democrats in Illinois, even though Obama sprinted through three Chicago fund-raisers Thursday, hauling in about $1 million for Democratic Senate contender Alexi Giannoulias and $1.5 million for the Democratic National Committee.
"We would love for the president just to do an event, either a fund-raiser or a public event," said Brandon Pinett, campaign manager for Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.).
"We've asked for Michelle Obama, [White House chief of staff] Rahm Emanuel and other Cabinet secretaries as possibilities," said Travis Worl, the campaign manager for Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.), who served in the Illinois Senate with Obama.
Foster and Halvorson are in big re-election contests, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee putting them on its priority list -- called the Frontline -- of incumbents to help.
Vice President Joe Biden -- who has taken on the administration's heaviest political fund-raising schedule -- was in Chicago on June 21 for fund-raisers for Giannoulias and Illinois Democratic House nominee Dan Seals, running in the 10th District. Biden headlined a fund-raiser for Halvorson just about a year ago. The White House still is sorting where Cabinet secretaries will be deployed -- and who will be most heavily used.
Illinois in 2008 -- with voters giddy with excitement over Obama, who adopted Chicago as his hometown, bringing out Democratic votes -- is not the Illinois of 2010, where Republicans are toss-ups or better in the Senate and governor races.
Mrs. Obama remains the most elusive prize. She has done only one fund-raiser since becoming first lady -- in Washington, for the Democratic National Committee earlier this year.