The battle over President Obamaâ€™s old senate seat in Illinois is excruciatingly close. Republican Mark Kirk leads Democrat Alexi Giannoulias by a very small margin in most polls and is narrowly favored to win. But a number of Illinois GOP operatives I spoke with today expressed concerns about an eleventh-hour development in the race: A $1 million cash infusion from the DNC into the state late on Saturday, coinciding with the Presidentâ€™s Hyde Park Rally. Politicoâ€™s Ben Smith reports:
With Illinois shaping up as perhaps the tightest Senate race in the country â€” and one where the Democratic candidate and his advisers have friends in the White House â€” the DNC just sent nearly $1 million to the state, topping a list of cash transfers totaling more than 2.6 million.
â€œYour readers need to understand that this amounts to $1 million of walking around money for Alexi Giannoulias,â€ one insider warned. â€œThis is money that very well could be used to literally buy the election at the street level.â€ My source said heâ€™s been reliably informed by his Democratic counterparts that the White House weeks ago decreed that holding the Illinois Senate seat was a top priority, approving a no-holds-barred approach to boosting Giannoulias. â€œThey essentially said, â€˜do whatever it takes,â€™ and Illinois Democrats know what that means,â€ he explained. â€œThey are prepared to steal this election, which should come as no surprise. Just ask Norm Coleman.â€
A second GOP operative echoed these concerns, pointing out that itâ€™s too late in the game to spend seven figures on advertising. â€œFirst of all, at this stage, there is nowhere near $1 million-worth of available advertising inventory to buy,â€ he said. â€œSecondly, even if there were, they couldnâ€™t possibly turn TV, radio, or mailers around in time. Itâ€™s too late.â€ This Republican source said state Democratic Chairman and Illinois Speaker of the House, Mike Madigan, is â€œidentifying key districts and precincts, and sending cash. It wonâ€™t just be [Giannoulias] who will benefit from this slush fund -- although thatâ€™s definitely the race that the White House is most personally invested in,â€ he said. Continued: http://townhall.com/columnists/GuyBenson/2010/11/02/illinois_hardball_politics_democrats_are_prepared_to_steal_this_election