Politics

Kirk Predicts ‘Upset’ In Illinois Senate Race

Vulnerable Republican senator faces strong challenge from Rep. Tammy Duckworth

Sen. Mark S. Kirk is predicting he can pull off an upset after numerous setbacks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., said despite the uphill challenge he faces, he is predicting an “upset” win over Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Kirk has been in one of the toughest races for a Republican this cycle in deep-blue Illinois. He won the seat in 2010 which had been held by President Barack Obama.

“We’ve got one day to go to pull off an upset win here,” Kirk said.

Kirk has tried to distance himself from national Republicans, being the first Republican senator to rescind his endorsement of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in June after Trump's comments about a judge’s Mexican-American heritage.

Kirk was also the first Republican senator to say Merrick Garland deserved a vote as a Supreme Court nominee and was the first Republican senator to meet with Garland. He is also one of only four Republican senators who supports same-sex marriage.

“They want to make sure they send a moderate Republican to the Senate, somebody who can balance the books, someone who is pro-choice, someone who is pro-gay marriage,” Kirk said of Illinois voters.

But Kirk has also been the subject of scrutiny for his penchant for making inflammatory remarks such as saying Obama wanted to give Iran nuclear weapons, and calling unmarried fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham “a bro with no ho,” joking that is what people say on the South Side of Chicago.

Most recently, Kirk came under fire during a debate, when Duckworth touted her family’s history dating back to fighting in the American Revolution and Kirk responded that he had forgotten Duckworth’s parents “came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

Duckworth’s father is American and her mother it Thai.

Duckworth seemed to already be measuring the drapes of her future Senate office.

“I can’t wait to get to work and get past tomorrow and get sworn in, so we can work as a team,” she said.

The Rothenberg & Gonzales/Roll Call rates the race Leans Democratic.

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