Barely 12 hours after their primary wins, both senate candidates vying for President Barack Obama's former senate seat wasted no time pivoting to campaign mode.
Illinois Senator Alexi Giannoulias sent a shot toward his general election opponent, Mark Kirk, mere minutes after securing the Democratic nod.
"Come November congressman, your days as a Washington insider are over," he said to raucous cheers at his victory party.
Wednesday morning, Giannoulias attacked Kirk on jobs.
“U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias will visit a shuttered General Electric plant in Cicero to show how Washington politicians like Congressman Mark Kirk have put corporate special interests ahead of Illinois families and Illinois jobs,” read a press release.
It’s a tricky gambit for Giannoulias because primary voters roundly rejected negative campaigning as a strategy. Then again, the GOP beat him to the punch.
Just minutes after David Hoffman conceded victory to Giannoulias the National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn slammed Giannoulias as “a product of the ethically-tainted political machine in Chicago that was run by disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich.”
They even released a slickly produced YouTube attack ad linking Giannoulias to Rod Blagojevich, convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko and a reputed Chicago mobster.
Kirk fired his own shots at Giannoulias.
"We cannot afford Alexi Giannoulias," Kirk said Wednesday. "This is our chance to make a clean break from the Chicago-style politics that have destroyed Illinois.
"He's ducking questions about his family's bank, but here is the situation: his family has pulled $70 million out of their bank. This may trigger another expensive taxpayer bailout."
It seems to be a line of attack that the GOP will follow.
“President Obama recently criticized bankers who line their own pockets while losing money for their investors during his State of the Union Address, yet that describes exactly how Alexi Giannoulias operated his family’s bank in Illinois,” NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer wrote on the newly launched anti-Giannoulias website.
Make no mistake, it’s shaping up to be a bitter ride to November.