Democrats are quietly worrying about whether Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (jeh-NOO'-lee-ehs) can win President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat.
The Giannoulias family bank is on the verge of collapse and under scrutiny for a reported $20 million in loans to two convicted felons. Despite that, most Democrats are standing by him, with party insiders saying they believe Giannoulias can win if he faces the bank embarrassment head on.
Party insiders also are encouraging him to strike back at Republican candidate Mark Kirk by picturing him as too conservative for Illinois.
They say Obama will campaign for Giannoulias and his chief political adviser, David Axelrod, is watching the race carefully.
Elliott reported from Washington.
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