Tags: Trump Administration | mark kirk | senate | reelection | tammy duckworth | illinois

Sen. Mark Kirk Fires First Salvo in 2016 Re-election Bid

Image: Sen. Mark Kirk Fires First Salvo in 2016 Re-election Bid
(Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:43 AM

The 2016 battle for the Senate in Illinois is shaping up as a battle between two candidates both well-known for their courage in overcoming serious physical handicaps.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk fired the first salvo with an opening campaign ad that features Kirk's determined struggle to return to the Senate after a debilitating stroke in January 2012, The Hill reports.

Opening with Kirk's doctor's announcement that Kirk had suffered a stroke, the video, narrated by Kirk, states, "I remember getting in the ambulance and holding the hand of that paramedic and knowing that something was very wrong. I thought that was the last human being I would ever touch.

"I had to learn how to walk again. I forced myself to climb up steps every day, even up our tallest building. I was determined to return to the Senate to do the job that you elected me to."

Story continues below video.

The $320,000, 60-second video continues, "Second to my service in the Navy, being your senator is the greatest honor of my life. As I learned to walk and climb again, I thought of our Illinois families struggling to get by. I thought of our veterans and our heroic men and women who are serving in harm's way. They're the reason why I fought so hard to get back.

"They're why I never doubted that I would climb the Capitol steps again. I climbed the steps for everyone facing their own challenges."

In the election, Kirk will be facing another comeback hero, Army veteran and Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs and partial use of her right arm in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 when her Black Hawk helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, her website says.

Duckworth was waiting at the top of the Capitol steps to congratulate Kirk when he made it back to the top for the first time in January 2013, supported by Vice President Joe Biden on one side and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, on the other, the Chicago Tribune reported. 

Kirk spent $135,170 to run the ad on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC through June 6, the Tribune reported.

"The big ad buy at such an early point in the cycle shows how seriously Kirk is taking his re-election bid in a presidential year in deep-blue Illinois," The Hill said.

The race, an Army-Navy matchup, is likely to turn into a pricey slugfest, with Kirk amassing a war chest of over $1 million this year to add to the $3 million already on hand, and Duckworth having raised $500,000, Real Clear Politics (RCP) reported.

However, while both candidates can boast a military background, Democratic and Republican operators told RCP their service is unlikely to be a main focus of the ballot battle.

"I think they both should be proud of their service, but I think that when voters are determining what’s best for their families, what’s best for the future of the country, they’re going to look at where the candidates stand on the issues,” a Republican consultant said.

And a Democratic consultant told RCP, "I think in the end this is a campaign about the economic future of the people in Illinois. This is going to come down to pocketbook issues."

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The 2016 battle for the Senate in Illinois is shaping up as a battle between two candidates both well-known for their courage in overcoming serious physical handicaps.
mark kirk, senate, reelection, tammy duckworth, illinois
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2015-43-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:43 AM
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