U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk will finally make his long flirtation with a Senate run official Monday, according to numerous local reports. (See full AP story below.) But as the North Shore Republican waffled about gunning for President Obama's former seat, critics have lined up on his right.
State Rep. Jim Durkin, a Western Springs Republican who chaired John McCain's presidential campaign in Illinois, told the Daily Herald he's considering taking on Kirk, largely over his vote in favor of the administration's climate change bill.
Durkin is upset with Kirk's vote for cap-and-trade legislation, a key element of President Barack Obama's agenda and favorite target of conservatives.
"I think he is going to regret that vote," Durkin said.
The extent of right-wing anger over Kirk's climate bill vote is clear in an article from the conservative site Champion News, which points out that one of Kirk's largest campaign donors, energy giant Exelon Corporation, stands to make a bundle from the cap-and-trade legislation. (via, Greg Hinz)
"Republicans were already outraged over Kirk's betrayal on cap & trade," writes the author, Doug Ibendahl. "Now that it looks like a sell-out, will voters want him in any office?"
The full AP article on Kirk's planned announcement:
CHICAGO (AP) -- Republican Mark Kirk will announce Monday he is running for the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama and presently held by Roland Burris, an Illinois Republican told The Associated Press.
National GOP strategists see the congressman from Chicago's northern suburbs as their best shot to take the Senate seat from Democrats. Burris was appointed to the Senate by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was removed from office and faces federal charges of trying to sell the Senate seat.
Two Republican sources with knowledge of the decision confirmed Kirk's plans but spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to preempt Kirk's announcement. One source is an Illinois Republican consultant who spoke to Kirk. The other is a GOP official with knowledge of Kirk's decision.
Speculation about Kirk's decision has grown since Burris and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced they wouldn't seek the Democratic nomination for Senate.
Illinois GOP chairman Andy McKenna has said he would stay out of the Senate race if Kirk runs.
Associated Press Staff Writer Henry C. Jackson contributed from Washington, D.C.