To prove it, Senate heavy-hitter Dick Durbin will chair the relative political newbie's campaign, the two announced Sunday.
Durbin made the announcement at his Springfield home, with Giannoulias by his side. As the Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet pointed out, the placing of the event in the state capital is strategic, aimed at countering any "big city politician" sentiments downstate voters may hold against Giannoulias, who lives in Chicago's trendy Near North Side.
Durbin has a lot of popularity outside Chicago's urban center. He's originally from East St. Louis, and is Illinois' only statewide officeholder who does not live in or near Chicago, according to Sweet.
The senator said he'll begin by reaching out to friends and supporters for help in getting out the vote to get Giannoulias elected. He said they both realize that five-term U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk has the upper fundraising hand.
"We know we're going to be outspent," Durbin told The Associated Press. He noted that the National Republican Senatorial Campaign began running negative advertising the day after Giannoulias won Tuesday's primary. "We realize we're the underdogs to this onslaught of money."
Giannoulias said he and Durbin share the same priorities.
"We've both agreed that we need to move this state and this country forward" by creating and sustaining jobs in Illinois, Giannoulias said.