Ride the momentum, the winds of political change are upon us 

This week, the state of Illinois concluded its primaries for its soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate seat. This seat, Barack Obama’s until he won the presidency, has gained infamy with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s efforts to “sell” it to the highest bidder.

The race will feature five-term Republican Congressman Mark Kirk versus Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Kirk, who has ridden the wave of conservative voter enthusiasm, easily won his primary by 37 points. Giannoulias struggled to find the same level of enthusiasm within his party ranks and merely earned the nomination by 5 percent of the vote.

All eyes across the nation, especially those peering out from behind the blinds of the White House’s political operation, are beginning to recognize that this race could become another Republican incursion into usually solid blue state grounds. Just more than four years ago, Obama won this seat by the largest margin in Illinois Senate election history. Today, Democrats are struggling to keep it in their column.

But the opportunities don’t stop in Illinois. If Republican victories in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts weren’t enough to evidence this growing national momentum against Democrats, the very real opportunity now exists for Republicans to take back the Senate — something that would have seemed inconceivable even a few months ago.

Senate races in Indiana, North Dakota, Arkansas and even Connecticut, to name a few, have become competitive. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finds himself trailing several of his potential Republican opponents in early polling out of Nevada.

Democrats in Washington should hear the message of the voters loud and clear: Immediately cease your efforts to expand the size and scope of the federal government and the massive spending that goes with it, and instead focus on sound policies that will help bring back jobs and reduce the exponentially expanding federal deficit. Ignore the warning, and you will continue to be defeated at the ballot box — in red, blue or purple states.

Michael Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation

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Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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