Sarah Palin will be in Rosemont, Illinois today, speaking at a $500-a-plate GOP fundraiser.
US Senate candidate Mark Kirk will be notably absent from the event, amid speculation that he wants to distance himself from the Republican Party's more conservative wing in his bid to win a Democratic seat in a moderate state. Instead, he's made the dubious claim that he's needed for votes in D.C.
But his opponent, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, doesn't want the congressman slinking off quietly to Washington. Instead, the Giannoulias campaign has released a video reinforcing Kirk's ties to Palin.WATCH the video:
The clip highlights Kirk's endorsement of Palin when she was chosen as the party's vice presidential nominee, and his pursuit of her endorsement during the Republican primary. It also drags back out Kirk's claim that he would lead the charge to repeal the health-care reform bill and make President Obama a "one-termer."
It's a calculated gambit by Alexi's camp, attempting to align Kirk with Palin and himself with Obama. In many states this might be a tactical mistake, but not so in Illinois: the President remains quite popular in his adopted home state, while a recent Rasmussen poll showed that only 35% of Illinoisans have a favorable opinion of the Wasilla native.
Meanwhile, Giannoulias himself hasn't polled too well, trailing Kirk consistently by seven to ten points. He's hoping that the Palin appearance will score him some much-needed points in a race that has many Democratic strategists wringing their hands.