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Tags: Trump Administration | Barack Obama | Democrats | Illinois | Senate | Mark Kirk

Ill. Dems May Face Costly Primary Fight to Unseat Sen. Kirk

By    |   Friday, 23 January 2015 06:44 PM

A fourth Illinois House Democrat may enter the race to unseat Republican Sen. Mark Kirk next year, possibly creating an expensive showdown as President Barack Obama's party targets seats crucial to recapturing the Senate.

Rep. Robin Kelly told CQ Roll Call that she was considering a challenge to Kirk, who is in his first six-year term. She won a special election in 2013 to replace Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who is serving a 30-month federal prison term on fraud charges.

Kelly had benefited from more than $2 million spent in the race by Independence USA, the anti-gun super PAC founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Kelly, 58, joins three other Lincoln State Democrats in the House in evaluating bids: Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster and Cheri Bustos.

"I’m just doing my due diligence to look at if there is a pathway in the Senate race," Kelly told Roll Call. "If I feel like I find a pathway for me then I will do it, [regardless]" of who else runs.

Kirk, 55, was first elected to the House in 2000. In 2010, he won two elections, to finish the final months of Obama's Senate term and to serve the next six-year term. He was sworn in on Nov. 29, 2010, beginning his full term in January 2011.

But the likelihood of yet another Democrat in the race to defeat Kirk has raised concerns about a costly primary battle, Roll Call reports.

"We kind of just duke it out in our federal primaries," said Tom Bowen, a former political director for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

However, longtime Sen. Dick Durbin is not worried, Roll Call reports.

"There’s going to be a process and a hierarchy of decisions," said Durbin, the Senate Minority Whip. "We’re going through that right now.

"I think that at the end of the day it’s likely the potential field will diminish, down to one or two very serious candidates," he said.

A spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, however, declined to comment on whether it would intervene in the primary, Roll Call reports.

The candidates are expected to announce their intentions by early March, according the report. The Illinois primary is scheduled for March 15, 2016.

National Democrats have targeted Kirk's seat in their effort to win five seats to recapture the Senate. The GOP currently holds 54 seats.

"Primary candidates are pretty smart," a national Democratic operative told Roll Call.

"You think to yourself, 'Jesus, are we creating a situation where we’re shooting [ourselves] in the foot?'"

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A fourth Illinois House Democrat may enter the race to unseat Republican Sen. Mark Kirk next year, possibly creating an expensive showdown as President Barack Obama's party targets seats crucial to recapturing the Senate.
Democrats, Illinois, Senate, Mark Kirk
423
2015-44-23
Friday, 23 January 2015 06:44 PM
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