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Good News For Kirk

  Wherever Congressman Mark Kirk is hiding out these days, the U.S. Senate Candidate and his staff must be pleased by news this week from the State Board of Elections in Springfield.  The "drop dead" filing date for Independent candidates and "other" political parties who want positions on the November, 2010 ballot passed Monday at 5pm.

  Millionaire mortgage banker Mike Niecestro, the west suburban conservative who talked for months about running as an independent against Republican Kirk, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and the Green Party's LeAlan Jones, did not file petitions for a position on the November ballot.  Niecestro--who needed 25,000 signatures of registered voters--told me that his petition drive fell way short of its goal because a "certain republican politician" did not make good on his promise to get 45,000 signatures.  In fact, according to Niecestro, the politician known as a "flake" in GOP circles, delivered a goose egg.

  Retired U.S. Marine Randy Stufflebeam of downstate Belleville did file for the U.S. Senate as part of the Constitution Party slate.  But the ultra conservative Stufflebeam, a Tea Party favorite, told me the Constitutions filed only 34,000 signatures.  The conventional wisdom among election lawyers and politicians is that you need at least twice the required number to come up with 25,000 valid names.

  So self-described moderate Kirk is likely not to have conservatives on the ballot to take away right wing republican votes.

  Meanwhile, LeAlan Jones' performance at the Metropolitan Planning Commission's luncheon Monday made it clear that his confirmed ballot position could pose a problem for democrat Giannoulias.   Jones, a 31 year old journalist and television producer with outside-the-box ideas is a strong communicator who makes his points. 

  The Green Party's U.S. Senate standard bearer, who garnered 14% of support in the latest  PublicPolicyPolling.com survey, is also African-American and could siphon off any number of usually-democratic black votes desperately needed by Giannoulias in what is expected to be a down-to-the-wire contest.

  So its not all bad news for Mark Kirk.

  Despite his credibility issues and recent status as a "media fugitive", he's still very much in the running.

  No pun intended.


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