Still, with the White House crawling with Illinois political folks, its hard to believe that party leaders and strategists at the highest level are going to sit back quietly and allow the presidents former Senate seat to fall in Kirks lap.
For years, political operatives at the National Republican Congressional Committee used to say that then-Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) handled all New York races, just as folks at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last cycle joked that Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) were in charge of Maryland races.
By that logic, Illinois is very much in the White Houses lap, though Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also has some responsibility.
Unlike some states, the Democratic bench in Illinois is so deep that it shouldnt be hard to find a more formidable replacement for Giannoulias. Senate primary runner-up David Hoffman, a former prosecutor and Chicago inspector general, would be an obvious choice, but other Illinois famous names come to mind as well.
Politically astute Democrats now think that the chances that Giannoulias will step aside have increased with the federal takeover of Broadway Bank. And if Democratic control of the Senate starts to look at all at risk, behind-the-scenes efforts to come up with a stronger Senate nominee in Illinois might increase.
Even in a bad year for Democrats nationally, it seems odd that Republican prospects in the Illinois Senate race look so good.
Yes, the GOP got the candidate it wanted in Kirk, and the presidents numbers in the state have slipped from where they were. But Democrats would be in better shape if they didnt have a nominee who was such damaged goods.
Illinois folks in and around the White House surely know that, and thats why pressure is building for them to do something soon. If they dont and Democrats lose the seat, it will be hard not to place a chunk of the blame at the front door of the White House.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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