Republicans have an opening, but they won't necessarily be running as Republicans.

Rep. Mark Kirk, the GOP Senate nominee in Illinois, is up with his first ad of the general election, and much of it is geared toward stressing his independence from the GOP.

Kirk, emphasizes his support for stem cell research and "cleaning up Lake Michigan."

Needless to say, this wasn't an ad we were saying when he faced a conservative primary challenge.

At the same time, Kirk does refer to himself as a Republican in the ad. Illinois is a state that has seen its fair share of Democratic corruption, but it may also just be a shoutout to his base.