Sarah Palin is in the Chicago suburbs Wednesday for a major GOP fundraiser, though many of the party's ticket-topping candidates will be conspicuously absent.
Chief among them is Congressman and Senate candidate Mark Kirk. Running in a closely watched Senate race, Kirk actively recruited Sarah Palin's endorsement during the primary season. The ex-governor snubbed him.
Now, Kirk will be out of town for Palin's Rosemont event. The Daily Herald reports that he "will have to be in Washington, D.C., tonight to make some planned House votes."
That's all well and good -- except that Kirk isn't voting on anything. Rich Miller from the Capitol Fax blog points out that of the four pieces of minor legislation moving through the House Tuesday night, Kirk voted on zero of them.
"Now that kinda undermines his excuse," Miller writes.
Suburban congressional candidates, trying to win Democratic seats in moderate areas of the state, are also steering clear of the former vice-presidential nominee. Randy Hultgren and Bob Dold, two of the state GOP's leading prospects, won't be in attendance. And neither will suburban state senators like John Millner and Dan Duffy, according to a separate Daily Herald report.
The one major Republican candidate who will be appearing is state senator and gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady. At first, he too had planned on skipping the event. But he apparently had a change of heart.
Brady, a far-right Republican, has long been fond of Palin, saying last month that "she's done a great job of making people understand their importance in government." And in his appearance Monday on the popular TV show "Chicago Tonight," he told host Carol Marin, "She ran as our party's vice president. I'm pleased she's coming to Illinois to help us rally the troops."
Still, he acknowledged to WBEZ, "Sarah Palin certainly appeals to some people, and doesn't appeal to some others."
Tonight's dinner, at the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois, starts at $500 a plate; $25,000 bought supporters a seat at a private table with Palin. The fundraiser will be followed by a conservative talk radio event, hosted by AM 560 WIND at the Rosemont Theater.