Illinois pols make final pitch after a busy campaign weekend

Kirk and Brady rally with Scott Brown; Kirk and Giannoulias breakfast with the president

November 1, 2010

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)

Candidates for office in Illinois and around the country Monday are making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday's election, and they spent all weekend campaigning, too.

On Saturday night, President Barack Obama tried to fire up Democratic voters in a rally on the University of Chicago campus. And on Sunday morning, he breakfasted at nearby Valois Restaurant with his party's Senate candidate, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, and Gov. Pat Quinn.

According to Quinn, the president paid. "Scrambled eggs, and we had hash browns and then I had sausage, too," Quinn said.

The governor also made stops at a half-dozen or so churches. Quinn says he wanted to talk scripture, and "make sure that folks understand that voting on Tuesday is really part of our biblical mission. If we're going to be God's people, we got to make sure that 'we the people' get heard."

Recent polls show a close race for both Illinois governor and the state's U.S. Senate seat, now held by Roland Burris, who is retiring.

Asked yesterday if Democratic losses here would be embarrassing, given the president's last-minute visit, Quinn replied, "My father told me never take an aspirin 'til you get a headache. We don't plan to lose."

In Chicago last night, the GOP candidate for governor, state Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington, joined other Illinois Republicans for a get-out-the-vote rally at Joe's bar on the city's North Side.

"We have to make sure that the Democrats don't steal this election away from us," Brady told the crowd.

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown also attended the event. Brown pulled off an unexpected win for Republicans in Massachusetts earlier this year.

"If it can happen in Massachusetts, it's definitely going to happen in Illinois," said Congressman Mark Kirk of Highland Park, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Illinois.

It was a Republican rally, but non-partisan independence was the main talking point when Brown praised Kirk.

"Knowing this guy right here, he's not going to be in lockstep with Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, or any particular party. He's going to be an independent voter and thinker," Brown said.

Kirk and Brady plan to attend at least five events together around the state on Monday. Giannoulias and Quinn both have busy schedules as well, though they are campaigning separately.