Obama's Home State Holds First Primary Election of 2010

Can a Republican Win the Illinois Governor's Race?

The top Republican contenders for governor are former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, former state Republican Party chairman Andy McKenna, and businessman Andrew Andrzejewski. McKenna launched a campaign ad last week blasting Dillard for appearing in a 2008 commercial praising Obama as a bipartisan figure.

Today's Senate primary is of national interest because Republicans think that the GOP frontrunner, Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., would have a good chance in the fall against the Democratic frontrunner, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

The 33-year-old Giannoulias, who has played pick-up basketball with Obama, is under fire from former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman and former Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson about his oversight of a family-owned bank and his handling of the Bright Start college saving program.

Democrats are worried that if Giannoulias wins the Senate primary, he will have a difficult time against a moderate like Kirk who is favored to win his GOP primary against attorney Patrick Hughes.

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that Broadway Bank, the lender owned by the Giannoulias family, saw a $75 million loss for the year. Last week, the bank was hit with an order by banking regulators to raise capital and to set aside more money for bad loans.

It lost $27.3 million in the first nine months of the year.

The Tribune's Pearson told "Top Line" that the White House is clearly worried about the Senate race in November.

"There is no doubt that the Democrats are concerned as far as the Senate seat and what an embarrassment that would be to lose Barack Obama's own seat," he said.

ABC News' Matt Loffman contributed to this report.

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