Illinois Fight Night Tonight? Probably Not

The final stretch of Election Season 2010 has produced some verbal hay-makers in Kentuckyand New York. So, given the general nastiness of the U.S. Senate race in Illinois, between Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, you might expect tonight's second debate (on WLS-TV) to be a feisty affair.

But Kirk doesn't think so.

Kirk says the format for the debate, moderated by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, "doesn't really allow for much interaction."

The incentive to try and ‘land a punch' may also be missing...because most people who see the debate will have to stay up late to do so.

While the debate will take place at 7:00pm CT, it will air AFTER the late local news...at 10:35 pm CT. The debate will be streamed over the internet for those who insist on watching it live. Otherwise, it's going to be a late night for interested voters and political junkies.

Preparations also seem much looser for Tuesday's debate. Giannoulias appeared in Chicago with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (who mispronounced his "friend" Giannoulias' name twice). The event was Kerry's opportunity to talk about Giannoulias'green-energy jobs proposal.

There were also questions for Giannoulias on his AP interview yesterday. In it, Giannoulias said the Obama administration's focus on healthcare taking away from efforts to grow jobs.

Giannoulias explained the healthcare effort, "took some of the President's political capitol away from where it should've been. I'm still proud of (the healthcare bill). I'm glad they still passed it.

Kirk spent his day in debate preps at Fort Sheridan near Highland Park, Illinois. In a brief interview during a break, Kirk talked about (among other things) the state Republican Party's efforts.

"We've had more volunteers calling more independent voters of Illinois than any other state (Republican Party). It shows an enthusiasm gap heavily weighed towards the Republican side," said Kirk with a broad smile.

Again, neither candidate is exactly acting like the Rock'em Sock'em Robots we've seen and heard from these past nine months.

Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.