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04/24/2010

Bigger Than Broadway Bank

  The long-anticipated failure of Broadway Bank was not the worst news received Friday by the embattled Alexi Giannoulias campaign.  

  The U.S. Senate candidate, his staff and the rest of us who spend most of our days (and nights) reading and writing about this stuff were aware that the feds, by virtue of their own regulations, would make their move at the close of business on either April 23rd or 30th.  

  So they took over the candidate's family-owned bank at 5:00pm on the 23rd.  No real surprise.

  The larger concern for Democrat Giannoulias and his strategists is the story that appeared earlier in the day on the website Politico (www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36243.html).  The report that the White House was "weighing its options" on whether to actively campaign for the Illinois Treasurer was a devastating blow to Giannoulias, who had counted on his one-time basketball buddy President Barack Obama's support.  Later, for the Chicago media, senior U.S. Senator Dick Durbin sadly confirmed the growing White House doubts that Giannoulias could win the seat formerly held by the President.

  According to Politico, Giannoulias' candidacy is so shaky that the White House reportedly did not notify the democratic U.S. Senate nominee that Obama planned to visit Quincy, Illinois on Tuesday April 27th. 

  And what impact will the story have on the candidate's ability to raise money?  He's already lagging in that effort; during the first three months of 2010, Giannoulias ($1.2m) raised barely half as much campaign cash as Congressman Kirk ($2.2m).

  As Precinct7 has speculated, if polls suggest Giannoulias has fallen farther behind Kirk by mid-May, the pressure will grow on the 34 year old nominee to resign his candidacy so the state's Democratic Central Committee could replace him on the ballot.  I've spoken off the record to some committee members who say that any of several "name" candidates, up and running by June, would have a decent chance against Kirk who has not experienced a groundswell of support despite Giannoulias' troubles.

  Ask him and Alexi Giannoulias will assure you that he can weather the storm and that he's in the U.S. Senate race to the finish.

  But quietly, he has to be wondering if a run without White House support is worth it.

  

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