Alexi Giannoulias' campaign is stepping up pressure on Mark Kirk, repeatedly aligning the Republican with former President George W. Bush's policies.
Giannoulias, Illinois' treasurer and the Democrat in the Illinois race for Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat, has been under fire from Republicans for his role in his family's community bank's troubles.
His campaign's tactic of mentioning Kirk in tandem with Bush shows that Democrats are also trying to bring the past into play during the general-election season.
"For eight years, Mark Kirk voted for every Bush budget that pushed our deficits deeper in the red, voted for a trillion dollar tax cut for the wealthy, voted for two wars without finding a way to pay for them, and voted for billions of dollars of subsidies to his friends in the pharmaceutical and big oil companies," Giannoulias said in a campaign statement released this afternoon.
"It's time to put the taxpayer ahead of the corporate special interests."
Eric Elk, campaign manager for Kirk, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the statement, the Giannoulias campaign points out that Kirk was among U.S. House Republicans who voted against a bill that Democrats say would restore pay-as-you-go principles for federal spending.
Kirk, a North Shore congressman, is widely viewed as a moderate in Republican circles. Some have gone so far as to declare Giannoulias the more conservative candidate in the Senate race.
But in an interview earlier today, Giannoulias campaign spokeswoman Kathleen Strand argued that Kirk likes to tout his "moderate" label more than he can actually lay claim to it.
"Mark Kirk likes to go around saying he's the moderate guy, but he's just not cutting into that group," Strand said. "His record is 10 years of voting in lockstep with President Bush."