It appears that Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk is trying to channel some of the Tea Party rage that has escalated following the passing of health reform, by asking voters in a letter: "Are you worried about this country in a way you haven't been before? Has someone laughed at you because you are from Illinois?"
The conservative Washington Examiner reports that the recent letter from Kirk, written to potential donors, is "clearly pitching for tea-party support."
Kirk, who is known as a moderate Republican, has shifted to the right in recent months--pledging to "lead the effort" to repeal health reform and referring to President Obama as a "one-termer."
"We're up against ACORN/SEIU, the Trial Lawyers and MoveOn.org - they have millions to keep Congress approving more taxes and government spending," Kirk's letter reads. "We won in Massachusettes, New Jersey and Virginia - but to win in Illinois, we have to run a huge campaign against powerful groups that want to keep expanding the government's control."
"In recent days, the Congress approved 12 new federal taxes and deep cuts to health care for seniors on Medicare - along with orders to hire 16,000 more IRS agents. Iran is accelerating its nuclear program as key allies in the Middle East are blasted by our government."
Kirk has not publicly spoken about his anti-Obama or anti-health reform comments since they were leaked to the media nearly two weeks ago--which the Giannoulias campaign has been calling him out on:
"Kirk has not held a public event or made himself available for media interviews in weeks to answer these questions. To help keep track of how much time has elapsed since Mark Kirk promised to lead the charge on repeal, the Alexi for Illinois campaign has set up a 'Tick-Tock Repeal It?' clock that is featured in today's new Web ad."
Kirk, who is pro-choice and an advocate for stem cell research, has had problems with more conservative voters in the past, but appears to be looking to that base now:
"I am for lower taxes, less spending and strong support for countries that stand with America," Kirk writes. "If you agree, now is the time to make the greatest difference in the future of our country.
Corruption, taxes and spending have never had better years than 2010..."
The most recent poll puts Giannoulias ahead of Kirk, but a poll has not been released since the health reform bill became law.