The Senate race in Illinois has been thoroughly brutal with both Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias hitting each other as often as possible about each others’ record. However, I feel the tide might be turning towards Kirk with less than a month to go to November 2nd.
Kirk has a money lead with $3.9 million cash on hand versus $1 million cash on hand for Giannoulias, and Kirk plans on unleashing an ad blitz totaling $5 million up through the election. In addition to Kirk’s ads, Crossroads GPS is also running ads in Illinois on behalf of Giannoulias.
How is Giannoulias fighting back against Kirk’s slight lead and the coming onslaught of ads? Become the campaign spokesman for the Libertarian candidate Mike Labno by pitching Labno as the conservative in the Senate race in an attempt to split the GOP vote. As the Daily Caller reported:
Brian Gaines, an associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a member of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, expressed doubts that either a Green or Libertarian candidate with little money and little name recognition could steal a significant number of votes to make a difference. “For Giannoulias, the risk of mentioning [Labno] at all is that it smacks of desperation,” he told The Daily Caller in an e-mail. “In his bid to ridicule Kirk, he could end up looking like a guy grasping for straws, wasting his breath on trivial points in the absence of a compelling message.”
Desperation is right. But Giannoulias has doubled down on his Labno Love by canceling a previously agreed on debate in Southern Illinois in Carbondale that was supposed to take place on Oct. 21st between Kirk, Giannoulias, and Green Party candidate LeAnn Jones. Why did Giannoulias back out of the debate? Because Labno was not included in the debate, which had already been negotiated to include the 3 established parties in the Senate race.
If a candidate’s hopes of victory are pinned on a 3rd party candidate splitting your opponent’s votes, then I would say that campaign already has one foot in the grave. At this point, Giannoulias is grasping at straws knowing that he is about to be on the receiving end of an ad blitzkrieg by Kirk and the polls conducted on the Illinois Senate race, with the exception of the Chicago Tribune, show a relative steady lead for Kirk.