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Giannoulias Loses Senate Race by 2 Percent; Concedes in Emotional Speech

Losing by only 2 percent of the vote, Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias conceded the race for the U.S. Senate seat to his Republican opponent Mark Kirk on Tuesday.

Surrounded by his large family and frequently fighting back tears, Giannoulias said, “You know how emotional I am, so no more calling out ‘I love you.'”

“We will never forget what this campaign was about: putting people first, always, always,” he said. “My parents told me that if you lose, you always maintain your dignity.”

Giannouliasspoke proudly about his parents and his two brothers. He said they have had “a rough year” but they “never lost their dignity and class and have always been fighters and always held their heads up high.”

He may have been referring to his family’s work at the failed Broadway Bank, the community bank founded by his father, who was an immigrant from Greece.

Giannoulias’s race against Kirk drew national and international attention, since the seat was previously held by President Barack Obama. After Obama resigned from Senate seat, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was caught on tape by federal agents allegedly trying to extract promises of jobs or cash in exchange for the seat.

In polls leading up to election night, Giannoulias and Kirk were neck-a-neck, with Libertarian Party candidate Michael Labno and Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones trailing far behind. Jones won 3 percent of the vote on Tuesday.

Since the beginning of the election, Giannoulias tried to distance himself from his father’s bank on the city’s North Side. Kirk consistently tied Giannoulias and the bank to suspicious loan agreements with convicted mobsters.

Giannoulias received even greater criticism following a debate with Kirk on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which Giannoulias repeatedly dodged questions over when he quit his job at the bank.

During the televised debate, Kirk accused him of lying about when he left, citing his tax returns for 2008, which suggest he continued to work there. Giannoulias previously stated he left the bank in 2006.

Questions about Broadway Bank were also raised when the inspector general of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced the agency would release its report about the bank’s failure after the Nov. 2 election. Broadway Bank was closed April 23.

Giannoulias said his bank issued loans to many borrowers and he was not privy to all of the information about the loans.

Despite concerns raised over his family’s bank, Giannoulias has received an outpouring of support from notable Democrats, including President Obama.

On Saturday, Obama held a rally in Hyde Park to energize the Democratic base. He compared the country to a car that has been run into a ditch by Republicans in the previous administration.

Obama saved Giannoulias’ introduction for last on his list of prominent politicians in attendance at the rally saying, “Treasurer and soon-to-be Senator Alexi Giannoulias is here.”

Giannoulias ran on the Democratic platform and supported the federal health care reform law, LGBT rights, reforming the No Child Left Behind law.

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