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May 11, 2009

Schakowsky ramping up fundraising

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) has set June 8 as the date when she will announce whether she’s running for the Senate, but she already is ramping up her fundraising efforts.

Per Lynn Sweet, Schakowsky is throwing her annual women’s power lunch fundraiser today, featuring President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Not a bad way to network with key Illinois political players all while raising money for a potential statewide race.

This comes amid buzz that businessman Chris Kennedy continues to seriously explore a Senate campaign, and Cillizza’s report today that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is still not ruling out a Senate run of her own. We’re hearing that Madigan still has her eyes set on the governor’s race, but the Democratic field clearly is still in flux.

The only announced Democrat for Sen. Roland Burris’ seat is state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who raised $1.1 million in less than a month last quarter. And Burris still may run for the seat himself.

An expensive, competitive Democratic primary would also make the Senate race more enticing to Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), the leading GOP recruit for Obama's old seat.