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In Attack Ad, Republicans Tie Illinois Dem Candidate to Mob

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has launched an attack ad on Democratic Senate candidate Alexis Giannoulias that links the Illinois state treasurer to convicted mobsters, disgraced ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and convicted Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko.

In the ad titled, "He'd Make Tony Soprano Proud, the narrator says Giannoulias has a history of ties to "shady characters."

"As a bank executive, he loaned $15.4 million to convicted mobster Michael 'Jaws' Giorango, a crime boss that ran prostitution rings and engaged in illegal gambling," says the narrator, whose accent sounds like many of the characters in the hit HBO show about mobsters.

The ad also says Giannoulias' brother was an appointee of Blagojevich and notes that his father donated $10,000 to Blagojevich. 

Giannoulias won the Democratic nomination to take on GOP nominee Rep. Mark Kirk for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by placeholder Sen. Roland Burris.

A Rasmussen poll out Thursday showed Giannoulias trailing Kirk 46 to 40 percent. The survey of 500 likely voters taken Wednesday, the day after the primary that sent the two men to the general race, has a margin of error of 4.5 percent. 

The two have traded the top spot in mock head-to-head match-ups over the last four months byt Thursday's poll showed that 55 percent of Illinois voters have a favorable opinion of Kirk and 33 percent an unfavorable view while Giannoulias' favorables total 46 percent and his unfavorable rating is at 18 percent. 

The accusation of mob sympathies is not the first time Giannoulias has had to defend himself against the claim. In 2006, he said he couldn't speak to the charges against Giorango but admitted he met Giorango in Miami to inspect property financed by Broadway Bank, the financial institution Giannoulias' father founded and where he was an executive, and knew part of the money would go for a casino in North Carolina.

The bank also has declared Rezko in default of his loans.

Speaking to Fox Chicago on Wednesday, Giannoulias said he wouldn't respond to the attacks.

"We've answered, I continue to answer, but these ludicrous political attacks I think sometimes get out of hand," he said.

Click here to view the NRSC ad.