UPDATED 11/1/10 9:52 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – The races for governor and the U.S. Senate are going down to the wire Monday, as candidates from both sides make the most of their last day to campaign.
Newsradio 780 on this Monday morning caught up with Republican Bill Brady, Democrat Pat Quinn and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney in the race for governor and, in the Senate race, Cong. Mark Kirk.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, Democrats and Republicans brought out the heavy hitters over the weekend, in a bid to win over the hearts and minds of any last-minute undecided voters.
For the GOP, it was U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who stunned the nation when he won the Senate seat previously held by the late “liberal lion,” Sen. Edward Kennedy. Brown appeared at a Sunday rally with gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady and Senate candidate Mark Kirk at Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed St.
“We need an independent voter and thinker; somebody who’s not going to be in lock-step with Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell; who’s going to do the best job for the people of Illinois, and it’s time to send that message,” Brown said in promoting Kirk.
But the man who used to hold that seat and used it as a launching pad into the White House says not so fast.
President Barack Obama says Republicans want to balloon the debt by extending tax cuts for millionaires. He says Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias will instead look out for the middle class, as will Gov. Pat Quinn.
“I feel great,” Obama said over the weekend. “If we get good turnout, Pat’s going to win, and Alexi’s going to win.”
But Brady has been leading in the polls for some time. The state senator from downstate Bloomington spent part of his Halloween campaigning in usually Democratic Chicago, trying to link Quinn to his disgraced processor, Rod Blagojevich.
“People are fed up with what’s been going on in Illinois for the last eight years, and particularly the last two years,” Brady said. “They’re looking for a better thing to believe in, and we’re providing that.”
But Quinn went trick-or-treating with his nieces Sunday in usually Republican Naperville.
“When you’re a long-distance runner, you’ve got to run hard. And when you come near the finish line – the last 800 meters – you’ve got to sprint, and that’s what I’m doing, sprinting,” Quinn said.
But perhaps no one has been running harder in the past two weeks then President Obama, who refueled in Chicago before flying to Ohio.
At Valois Cafeteria, one of his old stomping grounds at 1518 E. 53rd St., the most powerful man in the world treated candidates Giannoulias and Quinn to breakfast Sunday. And in a race where every vote counts nobody was safe from the last minute pitch, asking the staff at the restaurant if they had voted.
Meanwhile, Brady appeared at the Ogilvie Transportation Center as commuters arrived downtown Monday, and at Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant, 565 W. Jackson Blvd.
Kirk also appeared at Ogilvie, while Quinn campaigned at the Red Line terminal at 95th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway. Green Party candidate Rich Whitney also campaigned at the Ogilvie Center. Giannoulias is campaigning downstate.
Quinn will also hold a torchlight rally outside of his campaign headquarters at 8:30 p.m.