Mark Kirk Distances Himself From Chicago While Courting Downstate Voters (VIDEO)
During an appearance at a Right Nation event with Glenn Beck a little more than a week ago, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady made a swipe at Chicago-style politics.
"We're doing well in the polls, but we want you to think we're down," Brady told the conservative crowd in Hoffman Estates, before referencing Chicago's history of vote fraud. "There's one city that might steal four or five points from me on the night before the election. . . . We need your help."
Implying that Chicago might "steal" votes from him was a strange move--but not a surprising one. Brady has an enthusiastic base downstate, and one reason for his lead in the polls could be his lack of connection to Chicago-area politicians.
Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk, on the other hand, has built his career in the Chicago suburbs. As Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times points out, Kirk has lived in north suburban Highland Park for years, "went to New Trier high school in Winnetka--and launched his Senate bid from his one-time family home in Kenilworth."
But that did not stop him from slamming his opponent, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, as a "Chicago politician" in a new ad airing downstate. The ad also completely disregards Kirk's history on the North Shore, instead mentioning his brief time downstate.
"Mark Kirk: born in Champaign, attended college in Carlinville with mainstream Illinois values," the ad's narrator says.
Kirk was born in Champaign--but moved to suburban Chicago by the time he was old enough to go to high school. Also, Kirk attended Blackburn College in Carlinville--but only for one year. He graduated from Cornell University.
"The good news for Giannoulias in the spot: Giannoulias gets upgraded from Kirk's usual 'mob banker' title to mere 'Chicago politician,' Lynn Sweet writes.
Will Kirk's new push to woo downstate voters work? That remains to be seen. Polls continue to show Giannoulias and Kirk in a dead heat--and the White House is sending some high-profile help to give Giannoulias an extra push.
WATCH Kirk's new downstate spot here: