(CNN) - Eager to prevent an embarrassing loss of his old Senate seat, President Obama is heading to Chicago Thursday for two fundraisers on behalf of Democratic Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias, and CNN has learned Obama will be returning home yet again in the final days of the midterm election to try and help Giannoulias win a race that could determine who controls the chamber next year.
Two senior Democratic officials told CNN to expect Obama to return to Illinois at least one more time in the final few weeks of the campaign in order to go to bat for Giannoulias, who is locked in a virtual dead heat with Republican nominee Mark Kirk.
One Democratic official bluntly said Obama has no choice but to keep heading back to Illinois because "it's his seat" and the White House knows pundits will have a field day if the President's own Senate seat falls into Republican hands.
On Thursday night Obama will headline a fundraiser for Giannoulias at the famed Drake Hotel in Chicago. Then the President will attend a more exclusive dinner for high rollers at a private home on the North Side of the city.
Democratic officials said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who's also locked in a tough election battle, was miffed that Obama is not holding a fundraiser for him on this visit.
Instead the President chose to focus his time Thursday on Giannoulias, in part because of the symbolic value of his old Senate seat as well as the fact that every single Senate race could be the deciding factor in which party controls the chamber next year, which is why Democratic officials say Obama will be returning to his home state very soon.
First Lady Michelle Obama will also travel to Chicago next week to campaign for Giannoulias, yet another sign of just how aggressively the White House wants to keep this seat in Democratic hands.