SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | From the outside, it’s shaping up as a race neither candidate wants to win.
Front-running Republican Rep. Mark Steven Kirk has stepped on a political land mine of his own creation, leaving him as damaged as his Democratic opponent in the race for the Illinois Senate seat once held by President Obama.
Mr. Kirk, a 21-year veteran in the Navy Reserve, was caught exaggerating his military record. He claimed an award he didn’t win. He mentioned serving in overseas conflicts while he was safely in the United States. He stretched the facts when talking about combat and coming under fire. And his troubles don’t end there: Even his references to being a teacher are being questioned.
Federal regulators had taken over his family’s Chicago bank, Broadway Bank, which had grown insolvent because of bad loans and a bad economy. Stories were resurrected about the bank lending money to criminals, leading Republicans to start calling Mr. Giannoulias a “mob banker.”
Illinois voters now find themselves with one candidate who puffed up his credentials and one with an iffy business resume, both of them seeking a seat that former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell to the highest bidder. Mr. Obama held the seat for four years before winning the White House, and a Democratic loss would be a major embarrassment to the administration.
“To me, it seems like we’re locked in a race of the lesser of two evils,” said Jerry Stocks, Republican chairman for Macon County, in central Illinois.
Polls taken before the latest revelations broke gave Mr. Kirk a small lead of 3 to 4 percentage points, with about a fifth of the state’s voters undecided. Most political forecasters see the race as a tossup.
Some Kirk supporters argue that their candidate will rebound. The Republican’s backers say he is a moderate, five-term congressman with years of experience as a Navy intelligence officer, while Mr. Giannoulias is a 34-year-old former banker serving his first term in office and best known for his friendship and basketball pickup games with Mr. Obama.
But the revelations undermine Mr. Kirk’s credibility, which was supposed to be a major asset.
Mr. Kirk has largely disappeared from public view since apologizing for misstating his military credentials. He did give a speech Monday but wound up fleeing from reporters afterward when they wanted to ask questions about the issue.
Meanwhile, Mr. Giannoulias is sharing the spotlight at fundraisers with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Education Secretary Arne Duncan and others with ties to the president. White House officials now see Mr. Kirk’s troubles as an opportunity for the Democratic nominee, and have dispatched White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina to the state.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
"Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better." - Dr. Richard Paul
Life lessons, adventures, people places and observations as I undertake my personal quest to travel to 100 or more countries before I die.
Viewing and reviewing the Los Angeles experimental and classic punk scene with a nod to Rodney's English Disco
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc