Tags: Trump Administration | GOP2016 | Mark Kirk | Uphill | Reelection | Battle

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk Facing Uphill Re-Election Battle

Image: Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk Facing Uphill Re-Election Battle

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By    |   Friday, 05 Aug 2016 07:07 PM

After reversing his support for Donald Trump and siding with the Democrats on several key issues, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is facing a tough re-election bid as he risks alienating the state's core Republican base.

"If you want to be a Republican, Mark, be a Republican," Jim Fisher, 58, of Hudson, Ill., told The New York Times. He is a member of the McLean County Tea Party and the local Republican Party.

"You support pro-choice; you support gay marriage; you support everything that the Republican Party at least in the state of Illinois is against," Fisher said. "I don't see how you can call yourself a Republican."

Kirk, 56, who was first elected in 2009, is among six Republicans in races that party leaders feel could tip control of the Senate to Democrats. Their efforts to distance themselves against Trump has made the re-election race even more difficult, the Times reports.

In March, Kirk said he "absolutely" would support Trump's nomination. He rescinded the support three months later after Trump disparaged a judge of Mexican heritage presiding over the Trump University case.

He also has called on Congress to fill the Supreme Court seat that was left vacant by the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in February, echoing the calls of Democrats.

The senator faces Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, 48, an Iraq War veteran whose legs were lost when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in 2004, the Times reports.

She has raised far more money than Kirk — with $5.5 million cash on hand versus $3.1 million as of June 30 — and has the backing of longtime Sen. Dick Durbin.

Kirk skipped the Republican National Convention last month in Cleveland — and while that may help in gaining anti-Trump support, Durbin tied the senator to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"The difficulty is once you have voted for Mitch McConnell to lead the Senate, there are certain things that are inevitable," Durbin told the Times. "He will hold up the Supreme Court justice, he will not fund these programs that need to be funded, like opioids or Zika.

"And that is just what it means to vote for a Republican leader these days."

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After reversing his support for Donald Trump and siding with the Democrats on several key issues, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is facing a tough re-election bid as he risks alienating the state's core Republican base.
Mark Kirk, Uphill, Reelection, Battle
365
2016-07-05
Friday, 05 Aug 2016 07:07 PM
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