Illinois Senate Race: And The Winner Is...

The votes are in and Republican candidate Mark Kirk has captured the majority of votes against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias. This is clearly not how Alexi Giannoulias supporters expected the night to end.  Giannoulias officially conceded the race a short time ago calling his opponent, Mark Kirk, to congratulate him on his victory. As Giannoulias walked on stage, supporters here at the Fairmont Hotel shouted his initials, "A.G, A.G!" It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride here tonight for Giannoulias supporters watching the election results come in on oversized television screens.  What began as a growing sense of excitement soon after the polls first closed toinght slowly turned into feelings of nervousness and anxiety, as Giannoulias' five point lead, over Republican Mark Kirk disappeared.

In the beginning of his concession speech Giannoulias congratulated his opponent, Mark Kirk, which drew "Boos" from the crowd. One person yelled out, "he's (Kirk) a liar."   Giannoulias quickly interrupts, saying, "No!" actually defending Kirk, for the first time since this bitter campaign started. Giannoulias went on to thank the countless people who have helped him over the past two years of his campaign. "I love you guys. I'm sorry if I let you down,we're going to get 'em. Let's never forget what we're fighting for."  Giannoulias went on to say, "Losing is not easy. Losing is not something you expect, which is probably why I didn't write a speech (crowd laughs). My parents always taught me, if something happens and you lose, you always maintain your dignity."

Estimates from election officials around the state point to 50% voter turnout in today's election, which is typical for a Midterm election. A spokesperson for Cook County Elections Department, the state's largest county with nearly 1.4 million voters, told Fox News there has been a "steady stream of voters" all day today. Recent polls indicate high turnout from independent voters in the suburbs, could give Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk an edge against his opponent, Democrat, Alexi Giannoulias.

Giannoulias and Kirk have fought one of the costliest and arguably nastiest Senate campaigns in recent history, all in an effort to win the Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama. The same Senate seat that former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, was accused of trying to sell to the highest bidder after Barack Obama was elected President in 2008.

Rep. Mark Kirk be will sworn into office as Illinois' next Senator sometime around Thanksgiving to fill the seat currently held by Sen. Roland Burris (a Democrat, appointed by Rod Blagojevich)