One of Illinois’ closest and most brutal campaigns ended in defeat Tuesday for Alexi Giannoulias. The Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate conceded victory to Republican Mark Kirk. After months of trading verbal abuse with Kirk, Giannoulias tried using his concession speech to put the rancor behind him. However, even as Giannoulias conceded, it was clear some of his backers weren’t ready to bury the hatchet.
“I think he will make a good senator … I think he will make a strong senator,” Giannoulias told supporters. Some in the crowd shouted, “No!” and “He’s a liar!” Giannoulias urged calm, saying, “[Kirk] is our senator, and he’s going to help a lot of people.”
In order to win, Giannoulias needed outstanding turnout around Chicago and at least a respectable showing downstate. Ultimately, he fell just short on both counts. Mark Kirk will take over the Senate seat almost immediately, having also won a special election to fill the unexpired term of incumbent Roland Burris.