Ads are already airing for the 2016 U.S. Senate race, but the incumbent doesn’t think it’s too early for the campaign to begin. U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) has made his first ad buy in the race. Even though there are more than 17 months to go before the general election, Kirk says he needs an early start to win re-election in a Democratic-leaning state.
“It’s not overkill,” Kirk said. “It just reflects an understanding of the state and its partisan predilections.”
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U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says Kirk told him about the ad before it aired, since Durbin can be seen in footage used in the spot, showing Kirk’s 2013 return to the U.S. Capitol after suffering a stroke the year before. Durbin says it’s a “powerful” ad, but points out there’s a long time between now and Election Day.
“We have to go through primaries, we have to find our nominees, and ultimately, the voters will get a clear choice before the election,” Durbin said.
Kirk is already ahead of his first Senate campaign. In that race, he didn’t announce his candidacy until July 2009, and in that election cycle, the 2010 Illinois primary was held on Feb. 2, while the 2016 primary is scheduled for March 15.
No other Republican candidates have entered the race. On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates) has declared her candidacy, and Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp plans to challenge Duckworth for the nomination.