Giannoulias Steps Closer to Senate Race

Not yet a candidate, he's off to Florida to garner support

There's plenty of talk about the 2010 race for the U.S. Senate, despite the fact that the primary election for that office is almost a year away.  The seating of Sen. Roland Burris to replace the seat vacated by now President Barack Obama has turned the spotlight on that election.

On Monday, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias -- who refers to Obama as his political mentor -- announced that he will form an exploratory committee to determine whether he'll be in that race.  Many pundits have already predicted that Giannoulias will be the Democratic candidate, and Burris has said he does not, at this time, have his sites on re-election.

Filing the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) will allow Giannoulias to raise money for a possible Senate run in Illinois.

"More than ever, we need a Senator who can deliver on the change that President Obama has promised our nation," said Giannoulias, noting that he has received a tremendous response from Illinois residents encouraging him to pursue the Senate seat.

Giannoulias, the state's chief investment officer, said that restoring the public's trust and confidence in government, reviving the economy and getting Illinoisans back to work would serve as his top priorities.

With an exploratory committee and a Web site in place, Giannoulias has clearly given considerable thought to the campaign and the job.

Giannoulias is figuring the primary could cost $5 million and a general election at least $15 million, according to the Sun-Times.

"After a series of interviews to discuss his bid today -- there is no splashy kick off -- Giannoulias heads to Florida to prospect for labor support at the annual AFL-CIO Winter meeting in Miami. His initial campaign focus will be on fund-raising," Sun-Times writer Lynn Sweet said.

"Working families in Illinois and throughout the nation are facing serious financial challenges during this economic downturn," Giannoulias said. "They are hungry for new leadership and solutions."

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