Despite several campaign hiccups including a discrepancy about not having received an award as Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year, and an apology just a week later for misstating that he served in the Gulf War, commanded a Pentagon war room, and came under fire while flying over Iraq, Congressman Mark Kirk is being projected by elections guru Stuart Rothenberg to win the Illinois Senate race against state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who has been hit for the seizure by regulators of his family's bank:

"This cycle is bad for the Democrats and particularly bad for Illinois Democrats," Rothenberg added, citing the ongoing Blagojevich trial, among other things. If the economic numbers in September and October are clunkers, then, he said, the Democrats are in big trouble. 

"Unless there is another question about Kirk's integrity, character, which would change everybody's opinion about him," Kirk should emerge the winner, the analyst said.

With his inexplicable embellishments to an excellent résumé, Kirk took a race that Rothenberg says should have been a "laugher"--given Giannoulias' inexperience and his family's failed Broadway Bank--and turned it into a "competitive contest." 

Would it help Giannoulias if Obama campaigned for him? Yes, says Rothenberg. While Obama is a liability in some states, "he is still an asset in Illinois," especially if he can excite the base and rally African-American voters to vote.

Read the full story from Chicago Magazine's Carol Felsenthal.