Kirk's Remarks Add to His Uphill Battle Uphill: Kirk Camp Says Organizations Are Playing Politics

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Kirk's Remarks Add to His Uphill Battle Uphill: Kirk Camp Says Organizations Are Playing Politics


Byline: Sara Burnett Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, already facing an uphill battle for re-election, is entering the crucial final week before Election Day weakened by comments about his opponent that critics attacked as racist and "beyond reprehensible."

Two organizations whose endorsements Kirk touted as indicators of his independence withdrew their backing over the weekend, issuing blistering rebukes. Both said they're now supporting Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Democrats are relying on winning Illinois as they look to regain control of the Senate. The party must pick up four or five seats to do so, depending on whether they retain control of the White House as the vice president oversees the Senate and can cast a tiebreaking vote.

Kirk, a Highland Park resident, spent the weekend largely outside the public eye. Though he attended some community events, his campaign didn't advise reporters or the public beforehand -- a highly unusual move for any candidate in the waning days of a campaign, but one that allowed him to avoid rehashing the incident in the media. Duckworth had a full campaign schedule, including get-out-the-vote events with civil rights icon and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

Kirk, who's seeking his second term, apologized Friday for mocking Duckworth's immigrant background and her family's military service.

Duckworth, a veteran from Hoffman Estates who lost both legs when the helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down in Iraq, said during a debate Thursday her family has "served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution." Kirk responded that he'd forgotten the congresswoman's "parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington."

Duckworth's mother is of Chinese descent, born in Thailand. …

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