2016 Illinois Senate Race: Who takes on vulnerable Mark Kirk?

I really hope Tammy Duckworth takes on Mark Kirk for the US Senate seat in Illinois for 2016. Story

Kirk is going to be very vulnerable in a Presidential year in reliably blue Illinois. He squeaked in during the Republican wave of 2010. Defeating Kirk is a necessity if the Democrats are to reclaim the Senate.

I think Duckworth would be a very good candidate. She’ll have some appeal to the moderate Republicans in the Chicago suburbs.

Lisa Madigan has had several opportunities to run for higher office. She would also be a strong candidate for Senate, but I’m wondering if she might have her eye on the Governor’s office in 2018, facing a probably weak Rauner.

I know it’s early, but this race is very important to me. I’ll be volunteering for the Democratic candidate. Mark Kirk isn’t as much of a jerk as many Republicans are, but he needs to be defeated.

I don’t think Madigan would run. Everything I’ve heard is that she wants to be indicted-- I mean, governor.

I could see Duckworth doing it though.

Sorry, I suppose I didn’t really add much to what you already had, but I actually came in to suggest Duckworth.

I’m putting my money on Duckworth. As mentioned, Lisa Madigan is keeping herself ready for the governor’s mansion as soon as Michael Madigan finally steps down (or dies, I guess). If gossip is correct, she was pretty much begged by party leaders and Obama to run against Kirk the first time but declined. A six year senate commitment isn’t on her plate. She can spend cycle after cycle hanging out in the Attorney General’s chair until then.

Duckworth is the best candidate for blunting Kirk’s military service and handicap recovery. She’s also, you know, actually interested in the job.

I can’t think of another Democrat with the same state name recognition who I’d guess to make a serious run against her.

There’s always Michelle Obama, but I’m not sure how if she’d be interested. She’d be elected easily.

I think she pretty much hates politics though.

And I’ve heard rumors the Obamas aren’t going to return to Illinois after DC.

A friend was told by Pat Quinn that Lisa’s like him–he didn’t want the big chair because other jobs, like Lt Gov and Atty Gen, let you have a life outside of work and you can still do the good stuff you got into politics to do. I believe it about him, but I’m not so sure about her.

I was liking Sheila Simon, but taking on Topinka and losing was a bad move.

Is there any actual indication that Kirk is vulnerable? Being a member of the less popular party isn’t an automatic vulnerability for an incumbent. See: Susan Collins, Jon Manchin.

My first reaction upon seeing the thread title: “Who the hell is Mark Kirk?”

I’m a long-time Illinois resident, I’m familiar with all the other Senators from Illinois going back at least 30 years or so, yet I could not have told you who Mark Kirk was. So either I haven’t been paying attention, or he hasn’t been doing much to draw attention to himself (good or bad). Checking Wikipedia, I see he missed about a year’s activity out of the middle of his term due to a stroke.

Pat Quinn tried to get the nomination for senate many moons ago-when Durbin first ran. If he says anything like that, it’s sour grapes.

I assume “big chair” here means the governor’s seat, not the IL Senate seat. But I think it’s the opposite for Madigan anyway – running for senate would be a distraction from her goal of sitting in the governor’s mansion.

Kirk’s approval is 38% but his disapproval is only 28%. So the real answer is “A lot of people don’t know who he is at all”. In a presidential election cycle in a state that will strongly trend blue, having a third of the state be indifferent to you isn’t a strong position. I don’t think he’s in a bad position per se, but he’s not in a strong one either and, if Duckworth runs, her story will largely mitigate the “feel good” aspects of Kirk’s story.

Well, I guess we’re not the only ones guessing Duckworth based on this Kirk interview referenced in The Hill:

Don’t ask me why Kirk refers to himself in the 3rd person.

Sounds like he’s scared to me. Duckworth could beat him, definitely. But beating an incumbent is never a sure thing, even when his politics is out of step with the state.

Besides, I see Duckworth as more governor material. Someone needs to clean that state up and she’s got the integrity and ability to do it.

She ain’t cutting in front of Ms. Madigan so she might as well pass some time as a senator for six or twelve years.

That’s even if Duckworth was interested in the governor’s office which I’ve never heard any indication of.

Health issues, mostly. Too bad because he’s the sort of Republican that wins in Illinois: moderate enough that Dems don’t mind him too much.

Regarding the OP, I understand Jim Oberweis is getting underfoot at home and his wife needs him out of the house, so he might run.*

    • Note: I don’t know him, though I’ve seen him around town, and I haven’t had contact with the people I know who know him, so that was made from the whole cloth. And experience with him running for everything from dogcatcher on up.
      eta: Yeah, Tammy has had a taste of the big city, where she can do things on a larger scale than in Illinois. Doesn’t seem crooked, either, and that normally pushes politicians in all states to shoot for governor.

If she wants to be President, there’s no better way than to turn around a large state that’s in deep trouble.

It’s not all that deep of trouble, and it’s Rauner’s problem for the next four years. In politics four years is forever, and Kirk’s term is up in 2016.

Things are less bad because the national economy has recovered. But Illinois has recovered less, which will put them in a pretty horrible position when the next recession comes.

As mentioned, that’s Rauner’s problem for the next four years. And even if Duckworth wanted the job (and I’ve seen no indication of this) I couldn’t see her trying to bump Lisa Madigan out of line.

I’ve barely ever stepped foot in Illinois, so I know almost nothing about Kirk, but if he lost a year of his Senate term due to recovery from a stroke, is he likely to even run for re-election? Who would the Republicans have if he stepped down?