The e-mails -- and lack of e-mails -- say it all.
Mark Kirk's note to supporters: “Because of you, we had the best fundraising quarter in Kirk campaign history." Kirk raised $2.3 million between April and June.
Giannoulias' note to supporters: hasn't shown up in anyone's inbox yet.
How much did Giannoulias raise? The campaign hasn’t sent out an e-mail yet. That’s code for “not as much.” Kirk flaunted his financial advantage by airing two anti-Giannoulias ads this week. The Giannoulias campaign immediately came out with a rejoinder, but so far, it’s only available on the Internet.
According to the Ballot Box column in the Washington newsletter The Hill, Giannoulias "decided to refrain from airing it over the holiday weekend because the ad rates were too high ...The ad will go up on the air next week.”
Giannoulias held several fundraisers with White House officials last month. Deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and Vice President Joe Biden all came to Chicago to rattle the tin cup for Alexi. But those fundraisers all occurred late in the reporting period. For most of the spring, the White House was keeping its distance, and so were the fundraisers. There were rumors that Giannoulias would be forced out of the race unless he could prove he was a viable candidate. He did, with his expose of Kirk’s military record, but that didn’t come out until late May, too late in the quarter for Giannoulias to catch up.
In the first quarter of this year, Kirk raised $2.1 million, to Giannoulias’s $1.1 million. Even after his ad buy, Kirk still has $3.9 million left in the bank. Republicans all over the country have made this race a target, eager to capture President Obama’s old Senate seat. Fivethirtyeight.com is calling Kirk a slight favorite.
Giannoulias still has four months to catch up with Kirk. And the ads that air between Labor Day and Election Day will decide the race. But Giannoulias appears to be in a financial hole that will be difficult to overcome.