Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the special election to fill the remainder (two months) of Barack Obama's Senate seat can go on, Illinois voters will actually be voting for two Senate elections next week: one for the lame duck session of Congress that takes place after the November election, and then the regular election to fill the six-year term.
Unfortunately for Illinois voters, the race between Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk offers them a choice between candidates they probably do not like. After the Nevada Senate contest, this race is probably most emblematic of this election season's "lesser of two evils" problem. And unlike Nevada, Illinois does not have a "none of the above" option for voters to choose. With these two candidates, it is not surprising that voters can't seem to make up their minds. What is more surprising is this dead heat race is in Illinois, where the Democratic candidate should be a shoo-in for Obama's former Senate seat.
Congressman Mark Kirk is the Republican candidate for this seat and he has already cleverly told voters that he would be a check against Democrats passing bills during the lame duck session of Congress. Kirk is not completely trusted by conservatives, especially considering he voted for the House's cap-and-trade bill.
He has also run into his share of campaign troubles. First, he exaggerated a military award on his resume, for which he has apologized. He misled voters on precisely how he served while in the military. Then he lied and exaggerated about his past experiences as a teacher. And now Kirk, who went attended Winnetka's New Trier High School and represents Illinois's 10th district, is running ads to downstate voters implying that he has firm roots there while labeling Giannoulias a "Chicago Politician."