U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk thinks any Republican considering challenging him in next year’s primary would be making a mistake. Former one-term U.S. Rep Joe Walsh has admitted he’s exploring the possibility of running against Kirk, calling him a “liberal Republican”—a label Kirk dismisses. “I would definitely say that I’m a moderate Republican,” Kirk said. “If I’m accused of being a voice of moderation, a bridge builder in the Senate, that’s exactly accurate.”
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Beyond a primary challenge, several Illinois Democrats in Congress, such as U.S. Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline), Bill Foster (D-Naperville), Robin Kelly (D-Matteson), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates), may try to make the same leap from the U.S. House to the Senate as Kirk did in 2010. Kirk warns them the transition to campaigning for a statewide office isn’t so easy.
“I think it’s very likely I would be a targeted race and be nationally focused on” Kirk said. “For them I would say, be careful what you wish for. If you run against Kirk, there’s probably a defeat in your future.”