With early voting under way in Illinois, "get out the vote" efforts are in full swing. On Saturday, Democratic and Republican state candidates were busy shoring up support among their traditional voting groups.
Governor Pat Quinn was endorsed Saturday by one of Illinois' largest police unions.
The 10,000-member Police Benevolent and Protective Association cited Quinn's support for tougher gun laws.
"You cannot have a governor of Illinois who is afraid to go out and say to the gangbangers: 'We're gonna take away your guns,'" said Quinn.
The Springfield-based group is the largest downstate police union, but Quinn's downstate opponent, State Senator Bill Brady, dismissed the endorsement, touting his own support from the Fraternal Order of Police.
On Saturday, Brady attended two campaign events in DuPage County.
Both Bloomington resident Brady and Chicagoan Quinn have made noticeably few stops in the suburbs, where 40 percent of Illinois voters live.
"This election is going to be won everywhere, but the collar counties are particularly important to us, as is Chicago, and so forth," said Brady.
A recent Southern Illinois University poll shows Brady with a nine-point lead over Quinn and scant support for Green Party candidate Rich Whitney, who on Saturday attended a large anti-war rally downtown.
"I will resist and veto any further mobilization of the Illinois National Guard to fight in these two illegal and immoral wars," said Whitney.
The SIU poll suggests a virtual tie in the U.S. Senate race. On Saturday, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias attended a forum on immigration issues.
"I am the only candidate running for the U.S. Senate that's actually in favor of a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers who are a part of this country," said Giannoulias.
Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk was not at the event, prompting chants of "Where is Kirk?"
Instead, he was with the governor of Puerto Rico, who offered his endorsement. Kirk repeated his lower taxes pledge in English and Spanish.
"We do not need higher taxes," said Kirk in both languages. "We need to develop the economy of Illinois and the United States."
Brady and Quinn are scheduled to debate tomorrow at Elmhurst College in DuPage County.
Some political observers say the collar counties, which are traditionally Republican but have seen Democrats make inroads in recent years, could hold the key in the governor's race because neither man hails from the area.