[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/21/art.biden.file.gi.jpg caption ="Biden is the headliner at a fundraiser for Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic Senate nominee in Illinois."]
Washington (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden heads to Chicago Monday to lend a helping hand to a fellow Democrat hoping to keep President Barack Obama's old Senate seat in party hands.
Biden is the headliner at a fundraiser for Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic Senate nominee in Illinois. The Illinois state treasurer is facing off against Republican Rep. Mark Kirk for the seat now held by Democrat Roland Burris, who is not running for a full term this year. Burris was named by now-ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich to replace Obama, who stepped down from the seat following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.
Giannoulias has seen his bid for the Senate rocked by the controversy over his family's bank, which was taken over by federal regulators earlier this year.
Kirk has had is own problems in recent weeks. He's apologized for mischaracterizing portions of his 21-year military career, and the Pentagon confirms that the candidate was counseled by the military twice in the last two years for violating rules that bar members of the armed services from partisan political activities.
At the beginning of June, two well respected non-partisan political handicappers rated the race as competitive. The Cook Political Report said the contest leaned Republican, while the Rothenberg Political Report rated the race as toss up/tilt Republican.
Prior to the Giannoulias fundraiser, Biden is the main attraction at a political event for Dan Seals, the Democratic nominee for the House seat in Illinois 10th Congressional district.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn