Control of U.S. Senate, Obama seat up for grabs

November 1, 2010 (CHICAGO)

At stake- the control of the U.S. Senate and the seat once held by President Barack Obama. Polls show the race between Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk is close.

The sun wasn't up yet, but Kirk was Monday morning, shaking hands. If polls are to be believed, Kirk's got a slight lead.

"I think a lot of independents are breaking our way. We had good poll this morning show us four points up, but you've got to earn the vote," said Kirk.

Giannoulias spent most of Monday downstate at airport rallies with a traditional day before state fly around.

"This is who we stand for and believe in. Congressman Kirk believes in helping the biggest corporations in the world and believes in tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in the world," said Giannoulias.

Kirk-Giannoulias has been a bare knuckle fight-- the former branded an embellisher, the latter an immature mob banker. says the race may be the slimiest of all the U.S. Senate races. Some suggest it's the nastiest ever.

"I don't think it's the nastiest, but I think it's the longest and the loudest," said Eric Adelstein, Adelstein, Liston.

Media consultant Eric Adelstein constructed the Giannoulias commercials. And to be sure, he's aware of an electorate weary of attack ads, but he sees them as a clash of ideas, messy - yes, but necessary.

"As someone once said, democracy is the worst form of government except for all the other ones. And I think what that means is it's not pretty," said Adelstein.

"Politics ain't beanbags," said Kirk.

"I know you're tired. I know you're worn out," said Giannoulias to his volunteers.

Mark Kirk addressed a crowd of supporters at a Republican rally in suburban Wheaton Monday night.

"As your senator, I will fight for the national defense of the United States and make sure we remain on offense in the war on terror," said Kirk.

Gianoulias used an election eve event at the Athena Restaurant on South Halsted to get his message out.

"We have a choice in this election. We can return to the failed, reckless, greedy economic policies that have destroyed this country and decimated our middle class or right now, starting tomorrow, we can move this great country forward," said Giannoulias.

This has been a long campaign and in a 24/7 news cycle, it's not just the message, but the sheer volume of political commercials that can aggravate and numb the electorate. But they keep coming. Political campaigns spent $14 million on Chicago TV ads in the last week alone.

"When you're spending $14 million in one television market in one week, that's an enormous amount of volume that people are seeing," said Adelstein. "I'm tired, it's been a long election cycle, but I think it worked."

On the other hand, there are many people, voters who are so exhausted from the sheer volume of political noise that many may not turn out to vote at all that.

Giannoulias will vote Tuesday at his polling site near his North Side residence at 7 a.m. Kirk is scheduled to cast his ballot at a polling site in his hometown of Highwood at 10 a.m.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.