Kirk (R) claims a double-digit lead in Illinois Senate race 

Moderate Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., has released a poll the day after the Illinois Senate primary, showing himself with a 12-point lead over Democrat State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a close ally of President Obama.

Just hours after winning the Republican nomination in a landslide election, five-term Congressman and Navy veteran Mark Kirk today released a new survey showing his campaign out to an early double-digit lead over Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias, 47% to 35%.

The survey of 885 Illinois voters, conducted by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies between February 1-2, 2010 with a 3.3% margin of error, showed Kirk holding a net positive favorable/unfavorable rating of +5% while Giannoulias held a net negative favorable/unfavorable rating -15%.

This poll is an outlier, and it's Kirk's poll, so take it with a grain of salt. But it should put a fresh scare into the White House.

Giannoulias, whose family owns the Broadway Bank in Chicago, is an easy target on the ethics front. Here is what I wrote about his business dealings and his 2006 rise to statewide office in The Case Against Barack Obama:

Broadway had loaned millions of dollars to Michael “Jaws” Giorango, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter. When asked about loans the bank had made to Giorango in the 1990s, Giannoulias said he had not been a full-time employee of the bank at that time.

Then the Chicago Tribune reported that in 2005, when Giannoulias was serving as vice president and senior loan officer at Broadway, the bank had made an $11.8 million loan to Giorango and that Giannoulias had even traveled to Miami to meet with Giorango and inspect a property the bank was financing for him. Of his original explanation, Giannoulias said, “It wasn’t an attempt to mislead."

Even better: Giorango got one of his loans from Broadway in 2005 even though his co-signer was in prison at the time for possession of explosives and illegal bookmaking. (The man's wife had to sign the papers for him.) Giorango wasn't the only mob client at Broadway, either: The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Broadway had loaned more than $10 million to the Stratievsky family, alleged members of the Russian “New Mafiya.”

Giannoulias defended the bank’s pattern of loaning money to such individuals. “If every time someone got arrested the bank threw them out, I think it would be a problem,” he explained. “We look at the commercial viability of loans, and that’s where we make our credit decisions.”

Mike Madigan, the powerful Democratic Speaker of the Illinois House and chairman of the state Democratic Party,

...refused to endorse Giannoulias after he had received the Democratic nomination, refused to take his phone calls, and even refused to put his photograph on the party’s campaign website. "I want some answers. The allegations are there,” Madigan said at the time. “My history in politics, if you were alleged to be connected to the mob, you were done. But life seems to go on.”

After the press revealed that Giannoulias had basically lied about Giorango, Obama said he was "concerned," but he didn't actually do anything about it. Nor did he have any problems taking about $14,000 from Giannoulias, his family members, and at least one other manager at Broadway during his 2008 presidential campaign two years later.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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