Suburbs Crucial in Mark Kirk’s Quest for Obama’s Former Senate Seat

With 97 percent of the vote counted, Mark Kirk, who has served as a congressman for parts of Arlington Heights for five-terms, had 48.4 percent to Alexi Giannoulias’ 46 percent of statewide, unofficial vote totals. Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones and Libertarian candidate Mike Labno each had less than 4 percent.

In suburban Cook County, with 93 percent of precincts counted, one-term state treasurer Giannoulias led with 51 percent, or 331,672 votes. Kirk had 44 percent, or 282,887 votes.

Although President Barack Obama is personal friends with Alexi Giannoulias, 34, he wasn’t the president’s first choice to seek the Democratic Senate nomination. White House officials actively sought to recruit Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to run, believing she would be more formidable in a general election contest.

Madigan declined, and Giannoulias campaigned for Senator. Giannoulias had a big lead at 7:00 p.m. because voting results from the City of Chicago came in first. The lead dwindled and was overturned about 11:00 p.m. CDT.