Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk has released his first TV ad of the general election campaign.
While the contest between Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias has been pointedly negative in the early going, his 30-second spot takes an above-the-fray, responsible tone. (Scroll down for video.)
Kirk mentions that he's a Republican right at the start (a fact that intrigued Jonathan Martin at Politico), but also repeats the word "independent" and emphasizes how he differs from his party on the environment and stem cell research.
He also touts his military service, and focuses on his fiscal conservatism.
While the spot doesn't contain any reference to Giannoulias, Kirk clearly has his opponent in mind. The mature tone of the ad presents a picture of political experience, something Giannoulias is lacking. And the spot focuses the debate on fiscal responsibility, which given the recent news about Broadway Bank and Boston Blackie's, could be a black eye for Giannoulias during the campaign.
The ad takes a slight negative turn at the end. As Kirk says he hopes to "end corruption in Illinois," a picture of Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris appears on the screen.
"I'm Mark Kirk, the independent-minded Republican for US Senate.
"I'm a 20 year Naval intelligence officer, and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm known as a budget hawk on spending; I helped stopped the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," and voted to cut taxes 40 times.
"Newspapers call me 'independent' and 'effective' because of my record on stem cells, protecting Lake Michigan, and more.
"I'll work to stop wasteful spending in Washington and end the corruption in Illinois.
"I'm Mark Kirk and I approve this message."
Watch the ad: