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Giannoulias gets boost from Democratic Senate political operation

WASHINGTON—Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chair of the Senate Democratic political operation hit Chicago on Sunday to map fund-raising strategy with top donors to assist the Alexi Giannoulias Illinois Senate campaign.

Menendez, who oversees the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, huddled with about 30 contributors–who can tap their personal networks for more donors–at a session held at the Saddle and Cycle Club on 900 W. Foster Ave., a few blocks west of Lake Michigan on the North Side.

I was told the take away from the meeting was this: there was a “positive and engaged conversation about the state of the race and the DSCC support for it.”

Giannoulias lags behind GOP Senate rival Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), both in cash raised and in cash on hand. As of March 31, Kirk has $3,015,943 cash on hand compared to Giannoulias, with $1,221,628 in his war chest.

Last week, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told me “We will do whatever it takes to help Cong. Kirk win that Senate seat. I am not prepared to quantify that yet.” Cornyn was in Chicago on April 6 to headline a funder for Kirk and the NRSC.