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Kirk Changes Course, Will Campaign for Oberweis

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) reversed course earlier this month to say he will campaign for Republican Senate nominee Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove). Illinois’ junior senator, who has described his relationship with Oberweis’ opponent Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Springfield) as “strong,” told WJBC about his change of plans.

“I will be campaigning for Jim Oberweis,” Kirk told the central Illinois radio station.

Shortly after the March 18 primary, Kirk publicly cited his relationship with the Downstate Democrat as the reason he wouldn’t campaign for Oberweis.

I’m going to be protecting my relationship with (Durbin) and not launching into a partisan jihad that hurts our partnership to both pull together for Illinois,” he said then.

The change of course came just days after Kirk blasted trial lawyers during debate over the Paycheck Fairness Act, which failed 53-44, needing 60 votes to pass.

“I would have to say that this legislation is probably the most sexist legislation you can have against women,” Kirk said, complaining about allowing trial lawyers take over a sex-discrimintation case. He continued in his attack, saying this would result in a “well-connected, I would say likely Democratic Party-connected lawyer, comes in and takes control of your case.” 

Prior to his election to Congress in 1983, Durbin ran a successful law practice in Springfield.

The news of Kirk’s campaigning for his opponent caught Durbin by surprise.

“He said he wasn’t going to campaign against me,” Durbin said.

Oberweis is trying to defeat the entrenched senator, who is running for his fourth term in the Senate. Durbin previously was a Congressman representing Illinois’ 20th District from 1983 to his initial election to the Senate in 1996.

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Justin Shimko

Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]