Kirk again trying positive message in Illinois Senate race

The Illinois Senate race could veer away from so-called gutter politics — at least temporarily.

The race for the seat formerly held by President Obama had been marred by an ongoing exchange of bitter accusations ranging from lying about military service to connections to Chicago mobsters. It's expected to be one of the most hard-fought Senate contests of the midterm campaign.

But Republican Mark Kirk's newest ad, which is set to go up on the air this week, according to a campaign spokesman, is positive and doesn't mention his Democratic opponent. 

"In a country where too many just vote the party line, there are only a few thoughtful, independent leaders who do what's right for us," the female announcer says in the ad.

The 30-second spot, which paints Kirk as "independent and effective," was produced by Larry McCarthy of McCarthy Marcus Hennings.

Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is also moving away from the harder-edged ads that ran earlier in the campaign. His latest spot, which was released Wednesday, features footage of a rally he held with President Obama in August.

"Alexi's my friend; I know his character. You can trust him. You can count on him," Obama says in the ad.